Cactus League Game 21: Mariners at Reds
Yesterday’s 12-7 loss probably didn’t do a whole lot to settle the 25 man roster; Jason Vargas was terrible, but Jason Vargas isn’t on the bubble. Steve Delabar got blasted, but he was something of a longshot anyway. Kyle Seager homered, which might help his case to at least make the trip to Japan, but the hitting star was probably Justin Smoak who went 3-3 with two walks. The M’s figure to get more production out of the C, CF and 3B spots, though this is largely because they were historically bad in 2010-11. A full year of a healthy, productive Smoak really starts to transform the line-up, however. Instead of Ackley, Montero and please-be-good Ichiro followed by some question marks, they could start putting together a line-up that puts some pressure on pitchers.
Today the M’s play the Reds at Goodyear, as both Kevin Millwood and Hisashi Iwakuma attempt to get stretched out for the regular season. The M’s also play a minor league game, where Erasmo Ramirez will get several innings as well. The big position player battle today concerns the team’s 3B prospects, as Kyle Seager, Alex Liddi and Vinnie Catricala are all in the line-up. Charlie Furbush and George Sherrill should see some action against the Reds; both pitched yesterday, so this will be a good opportunity to see how Furbush fares in his new role and how ready Sherrill is for opening day.
1: Kawasaki (SS)
2: Rodriguez (2B)
3: Carp (LF)
4: Montero (C)
5: Seager (3B)
6: Liddi (1B)
7: Catricala (DH)
8: Peguero (RF)
9: Wells (CF)
SP: Kevin Millwood
Bob Condotta’s got a story on Franklin Gutierrez’s recuperation from a strained oblique. He’s still not able to throw, and doesn’t know when he’ll get the go-ahead to do so. So, uh, go Mike Saunders!
The M’s are scheduled to make another round of cuts today, as they fly to Japan on Thursday. They’ve got 39 players in camp, and several key battles for the last few spots. Obviously, the bullpen’s the most wide-open, especially after the release of Kuo. I’d guess Chance Ruffin and Steve Delabar haven’t done enough to keep them on the 25-man to start the year, and that Cesar Jimenez is probably not long for the active roster either. 3B’s the other big problem to solve. I think Seager’s on the team, forcing Catricala and probably Liddi down. Keeping Kawasaki means they can’t carry a bench bat like Peguero or Liddi, and Kawasaki has the upper hand over Luis Rodriguez. Liddi/Peguero probably makes the trip to Japan as a member of the taxi squad, but don’t figure to be a part of the 25-man roster at this time. The other big decisions are the #5 starter and whether to go with an 11- or 12-man ‘pen.