Notes: Wind spoils Ramirez's tuneup
Mariners southpaw struggles in final Cactus League start
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Horacio Ramirez's final start in Arizona this spring came on a day when there was a stiff breeze from the west, contributing to a six-inning outing at Peoria Stadium that was anything but a breeze."I am not a big fan of the wind," Ramirez said after yielding 11 hits and seven runs Tuesday afternoon in the Mariners' 9-8 Cactus League loss to the Giants. Seattle rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to close the gap to one run and had the bases loaded with two outs when Adam Jones drilled a line drive right at third baseman Mark Minicozzi. "My first three innings were pretty tough," Ramirez said, "but I was happy with the way I finished off." Ramirez, who will make his first regular-season start on April 6 against the Indians in Cleveland, said that, for whatever reason, his two-seam fastball was moving so much that he couldn't control it well enough to pierce the strike zone with regularity during a four-run Giants rally in the second inning. And so, after getting solid pitching from the five starters most of camp, the Mariners have now had back-to-back clunkers. Right-hander Miguel Batista was rocked for 12 hits and six runs in six innings on Monday night. "Sometimes the results are a little deceiving," Ramirez said. "You look up and see '7' and '11,' but some of those hits were dinkers." Manager Mike Hargrove said, "He wasn't as good as he's been in previous outings. There were a couple of wind-blown balls that might have been caught, and I'm not using that as an excuse, but he didn't pitch as well as he had." Ramirez said he has one more tuneup outing remaining before his regular-season debut. He is scheduled to pitch in Saturday afternoon's game against the Cubs in Las Vegas.
A good George: Left-handed reliever George Sherrill had another solid one-inning outing and probably secured a spot in the bullpen."He was down with his pitches, they were crisp and firm," Hargrove said. "It was our best outing of the day. He threw some nice breaking balls. George has a track record and has done a good job for us, and I feel comfortable. We'll see what happens." Numbers game: Rookie sensation Brandon Morrow, who probably will land a spot on the Mariners' Opening Day roster, has been wearing No. 85 during Spring Training. That won't be his number much longer, but someone else is wearing the one he would prefer. "I wore number 21 in college," he said. "That's Grover's number." Hargrove has had No. 21 stitched on the back of his uniform jersey practically ever season since playing summer baseball in college. The last Mariners player to wear No. 21 was Alvin Davis, who played first base from 1984-91, and the first player inducted into the Mariners' Hall of Fame. When hired by the Mariners prior to the 2005 season, Hargrove called Davis to get permission to wear No. 21. "Alvin said he would be more than happy to have me wear it," Hargrove said. Still sore: Pitcher Miguel Batista jokingly said he had a "Rawlings tattoo" on the right side of his stomach, compliments of a line drive that nailed him in the first inning of Monday night's game against the Rangers in Surprise. "I thought for sure that it broke a rib," he said of the drive of Gerald Laird's bat. "It knocked the breath out of me, the first time that's ever happened." Camp visitor: Former Mariners pitcher Billy Swift, who had three tours of duty with the franchise (1985-86, 1988-91 and 1998) was in camp on Tuesday. He still ranks fifth on the all-time list for games pitched with 292 and figures to drop to sixth this season. Left-hander Arthur Rhodes is just six appearances behind Swift, the Mariners' first-round draft selection in 1984. Swift currently lives in Scottsdale and coaches the Scottsdale Christian baseball team, which has reached the Class 2A final the past four years. Another of the top teams this season is Valley Christian, who defeated Swift's team three times. That team is coached by another former Mariners pitcher -- Mike Moore. This 'n that: Willie Bloomquist says he has fully recovered from a mild abdominal strain and is ready to return to action. He was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday for the third consecutive game. ... Reliever Jorge Campillo was reassigned to the Minor League camp on Tuesday morning, leaving 38 players in camp. Of the 38, 25 were in camp last spring and 23 played in at least one game during the regular season. ... The two-homer game Ben Broussard had against the Rangers on Monday night was the first multihomer game by a Mariners player since Quinton McCracken did it on March 13, 2004 against the Rockies. On deck: The Mariners play their final Cactus League game against an American League West opponent on Wednesday, hosting the Rangers in a 1:05 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium. Right-hander Felix Hernandez makes his final start of the spring, fine-tuning his arsenal for his first Opening Day assignment. Morrow is scheduled to pitch one inning of relief in his final bid to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.