SURPRISE, Ariz. - Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge hoped to learn something about his handful of candidates for the 2011 bullpen during Saturday's game against the Texas Rangers.
But following Seattle’s 9-8 win in 10 innings, all Wedge knew was that he wanted to see more to make a decision.
With Doug Fister starting a minor league game instead of facing the American League West-rival Rangers, Wedge used a handful of relievers against Texas’ everyday lineup.
Of the six candidates Wedge sent to the mound, only veteran Chris Ray had a solid outing – one inning, one hit, one strikeout. And he probably had secured a job already.
“We still need to see more,” Wedge said of Ray, who’s had a sore calf this spring.
And the rest of the pitchers? Well, veteran lefty Royce Ring probably had the next best outing, striking out Doug Deeds and Endy Chavez with runners at second and third to end the ninth and send the game to extra innings.
Brought in to pitch the ninth inning and hold an 8-8 tie, Ring gave up a leadoff walk and then a one-out double to Esteban German. If it weren’t for a great hustle play and relay throw from center fielder Michael Saunders, the game would have been over. Instead, it left Ring with runners on second and third with one out. He got out of it.
“You can’t do any better than that relay, it’s the reason we were able to keep playing,” Wedge said.
Performances by left-handers Fabio Castro, who started, Cesar Jimenez (two innings, three hits, one run), and right-handers Tom Wilhelmsen (two innings, one run, two hits, one walk) and Justin Miller (one inning, two runs and two hits, including a homer) were mostly forgettable.
“They had a good lineup today and everybody battled,” Wedge said.
The Mariners will probably enter the season with a seven-man bullpen.
SURGERY FOR ROBLES
Left-hander Mauricio Robles will have arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to have loose bodies removed from left elbow. Mariners medical director Dr. Edward Khalfayan will perform the surgery.
Robles, 22, has been bothered by his elbow all spring. He pitched in one Cactus League game, had serious control issues, and was optioned to Triple A soon after.
Robles figured to be a part of the starting rotation in Tacoma.
Fister threw 42/3 innings against San Diego minor leaguers, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits and striking out five. He walked two and hit two. Jack Cust hit two homers against Texas, including the third of three in a row after Adam Kennedy and Mike Wilson to tie the game in the eighth. He also hit what proved to be the winning homer in the top of the 10th. Steven Baron, hitting .667 this spring, forced extra innings with an RBI single in the ninth.
The Mariners meet the host San Diego Padres at 1:05 p.m. today at Peoria Stadium. Left-hander Erik Bedard will start for Seattle against lefty Wade LeBlanc. The game will be broadcast on 710-AM radio.