A fraction of the ballclub lost to a fraction of the Giants, 4-2. This time it was Jeff Harris' turn to get bombed, as he allowed home runs to Nate Schierholz and some guy named Derin McMains (who probably puts up with more "McBain" jokes than everybody we know combined) in turning a late 2-0 lead into a 4-2 deficit. You look at the guys on the bubble - Harris, Scott Atchison, Dave Burba, Luis Gonzalez, Jake Woods, Kevin Appier, even Marcos Carvajal - and none of them have pitched particularly well so far, Appier's three shutout innings notwithstanding. Foppert's been okay, but Meche threw yesterday without any problems, so now it looks like that probably won't matter.
In good news, Moyer looked strong, and JJ Putz returned after having some troublesome back problems to throw a perfect inning. Mind you, these weren't exactly your grandpappy's San Francisco Giants, but it was your grandpappy's Seattle starting pitcher, so call it even. Todd Sears went 0-4, effectively ruining his spring and letting Richie Sexson get a leg up, while Cody Ransom exacted his revenge against the team that let him go by appearing in the game and not making a crippling error that gave the division to the Dodgers. Good day for Tuiasosopo (3-4) against a handful of ML-caliber pitchers, as well, which can only be good. True story: I get nightmares when I see "R Rivera" in the Mariner starting lineup. Thankfully, Ruben is currently otherwise occupied.
Another fraction of the Mariners lost to an even smaller fraction of the Mariners, as Japan held on for a 6-5 victory. Highlights would be Ichiro going 2-4 against his own team (did you know that treason is punishable by death?) while Roberto Petagine excelled against the pitchers who didn't think they'd ever have to see him again after he signed with the Red Sox. Koji Uehara completely dominated Seattle for five innings, allowing just one hit and facing the minimum 15 batters, but that one hit belonged to Greg Dobbs, which I think totally negates Uehara's accomplishment. Other guys with names I'll never remember teamed up to smack Travis Blackley around in the second, which seems unfair, because I don't even know if the Japanese have a word for "pitching shoulder labrum surgery". Still, it ended up closer than I thought it'd be.
The WBC story of the day was Joel Pineiro tossing four effective innings against a powerful Dutch lineup featuring such luminaries as Ivanon Coffee, Gene Kinsale (remember him?), Randall Simon, and - I promise I'm not making this up - Dirk van Klooster. Sure, Andruw Jones was there, too, but he's been playing around 50%, saving his energy and national pride for the Curacao national team. Anyway, Pineiro threw 40 strikes on 56 pitches, fanning two and walking one in four frames before getting the hook. That's the good news. The bad news is that, watching the MLB.tv archived video of the game, he was hanging out in the 88-91mph range, and his mechanics are still identical to the ones he rode to elbow and shoulder problems over the last two years. I really don't like the way he reaches so far back with his pitching arm. I guess it's really all about finding the right balance between effective mechanics and effective pitching, but Pineiro has totally sucked two years running, so that balance has yet to be achieved. Fortunately, he could pitch exactly like he did in 2005 and still shave a run off his ERA, which is something. If you have to suck, just make sure to not to suck too hard.
In roster news, Chris Jaile and Rich Dorman have been assigned to minor league camp, while Sean Green was given an invitation to play with the big boys. Fernando Vina isn't scheduled to appear in a game until Sunday, at the earliest. And finally, Gil Meche is on track to appear in Monday's contest, as he threw long-toss and flat-ground yesterday without any pain.
Jesse Foppert takes on The World Champion Chicago White Sox!! this afternoon. He'll be followed by Scott Atchison, Yorman Bazardo, and Renee Cortez.
In unrelated news, division roundtables should go up later today or tomorrow.