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Saturday Mariners Wrap-Up

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After a long day inadvertently spent above snowline, there's nothing better than coming home to a warm apartment and getting caught up on the Mariners. Mariners!

  • The first shot of business today is that Mauricio Robles is set to undergo elbow surgery to remove some loose bodies. Robles came to camp looking to pick up some things from veterans like Nate Robertson, and he did exactly that. One can imagine how this doctor visit went. "My elbow hurts." "Well that's because there are little bits of you floating around in there."

    It makes sense that something would be wrong with Robles, given that his velocity and control were alarmingly poor in his one appearance, and given that he's been shut down with dead arm, a condition that sounds way worse than it needs to. Robles will miss the same amount of time as Robertson, and he should be back to pitching in a game somewhere in May. That's when Robles will get back to being himself, and from there no one's quite sure when he'll get to be somebody better than that.

  • One of the reasons the Mariners had a bullpen day against the Rangers was because Doug Fister was starting a B game against Padres minor leaguers. The good news is that Fister came away having thrown 90 pitches without complaining of any discomfort. The bad news is that he walked two guys and drilled two more in 4.2 innings, and while I obviously can't say too much about a game that few people saw, the numbers would certainly indicate that Fister still didn't have his desired command. I'll grant that it's very possible that Fister is just looking to build up his arm strength and wasn't real concerned with his results today, but I'm a worrier when it comes to pitchers like Fister, who manage to get by for no good evident reason. When guys survive by magic, you're always just waiting for everyone else to figure out the steps.

  • The Mariners managed to win their bullpen game, and they won in unusual fashion by scoring seven runs in the final three innings. The keys? Back-to-back-to-back home runs by Adam Kennedy, Mike Wilson and Jack Cust in the eighth off Darren O'Day, and then another homer by Cust in the tenth off Justin Miller, who is different from our Justin Miller in like infinity ways. Turns out there have been seven Justin Millers in the history of Major League and minor league baseball, and ours is the best.

    The thing that Eric Wedge found the most appealing about Cust's performance is that both of his homers were hit to center field, rather than being pulled to right. Cust's always been able to do that, and while I admit that I haven't completely thought this point through, it actually seems like it could be a bad thing since Safeco is best suited for lefties who hit to right. It's a tough place for lefties to hit for power up the middle or the other way, and I'm afraid that Cust may find that out. But in the meantime, dingers!

    The Kennedy homer is encouraging, since he's essentially being considered a lock for the roster even though he hasn't done a whole lot. The Wilson homer is impressive since it came against a guy who's held big league righties to a .554 OPS. In case you're wondering, the wind was blowing out very strongly to center field.

    It's worth noting that Steven Baron came up with another hit, this one a line drive single off a talented and hard-throwing righty in Pedro Strop. Baron now has as many hits as both Franklin Gutierrez and Justin Smoak, and that doesn't include the doubles he ripped off Felix in that B game. One wonders if Baron has been motivated by the fact that everyone can't seem to say enough about how bad his offense is. If so, criticize more! Criticize worse!

    On the pitching side, Wedge wanted to get more of a look at some of the guys vying for spots, and so he sent out six guys vying for spots and one Scott Patterson. Chris Ray probably had the best afternoon with regard to his chances, allowing a hit - on a good pitch - in a scoreless inning. The worst might've been Miller, who struck out the side but also allowed a hit to Endy Chavez and a homer to Omar Quintanilla. Fabio Castro had a miserable second after a flawless first. Everybody wants to know more about Tom Wilhelmsen, and he allowed one run in two innings, walking a guy and hitting another while doing a better job of locating his curve than he did the last time. He's a long shot, but he's still got a chance.

    I don't know how much knowledge Wedge gained from today's combined performance on the mound, but the neat thing about Spring Training roster decisions is that they aren't permanent. No matter which relievers Wedge comes out of camp having chosen, each and every one of them can be replaced at any point in the year. So there's pressure on all of them now, and there'll still be pressure on all of them in a month, and in all subsequent months. Easy life.

Erik Bedard goes tomorrow against our old foe Wade LeBlanc and the Padres. Fun fact: Bedard's one game last year - his rehab start in Tacoma after which he was shut down for the season - came against the Padres' AAA affiliate. Damn them!