Mariners Insider Blog

The Netherlands 8, Mariners 1 -- Wladimir Balentien, remember him?

It wasn't a particularly well-played game at Peoria Stadium. The Mariners didn't get great pitching or hitting. Dustin Ackley had two of the four hits. Ackley's double is below. And this wasn't exactly world class pitching. It was just one of those games.

Who was hot

Wladimir Balentien. Remember him? He was one-time, homer-hitting prospect for the Mariners. The free-swinging right-hander swung his way right of the organization in 2009 after failing to adjust to hitting at the big league level, specifically pitches that weren't straight. The Mariners traded him to the Reds where he lasted just one season.

He ended up in the Japanese Professional League where he’s become a home run hitting star for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Balentien, a native of Curacao, showed that power in the first inning. He destroyed a 1-0 sinker deep into the night. The towering fly ball went over just left of the 410 mark near center field and landed halfway up the grass berm (above).

An inning later, Balentien lashed a single up the middle to drive in two more runs. He added another single later to finish 3-for-5 for the night.

Good for him. We talked to him yesterday (post some stuff later), but you can tell he's really grown up a lot. He has some serious power and playing in Japan he's learned to hit offspeed stuff. I bet he gets a chance back in the U.S. in a couple of years.

Who was not

Jon Garland struggled with his command all night. The veteran right-hander gave up five runs on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in three innings pitched. He could just never find the command he showed in previous outings this spring.

“I was just rushing to the plate and my front side was opening up heavily and jerking a lot of balls, getting behind the count, a two-out walk, giving them extra chances,” he said. “Just bad things.”

Garland simply couldn’t make the adjustments needed.

“I just try and slow myself down,” he said. “And it sucks because my guys are out there standing on their feet, they’re getting tired and they want to get inside, get a glass of water and hit. You just kind of drag along. That’s typically what I try to do is just slow myself down, but I wasn’t able to figure it out.”

Garland wouldn't even take solace in the seven