Mariners notebook: Wolf’s progress, other observations

Mar 19, 2014, 9:56 AM | Updated: 11:17 am

By Shannon Drayer

PEORIA, Ariz. – The off day Monday gave us all a chance to step away from what we have been watching down here in Arizona and come back with new eyes. A few things that jumped out at me during last night’s game against the Padres:

• Randy Wolf is fun to watch when he is on with his pitches. Okay, we have yet to see him completely on, but he had moments Tuesday night and with a pretty darn good curveball that he could throw at a couple of different speeds and a changeup that was about 10 mph slower than his less-than-overwhelming fastball, he kept the hitters of balance and was quite effective. He used far too many of those pitches and threw 73 in four innings, but it is spring training and he is back on the mound for the first time since surgery so it is not surprising that he isn’t consistent with all his pitches. What we have seen is more consistency with each start.

He is an interesting option and a tough fit as he is not on the 40-man roster and the question would be: do you put him on the 40- and 25-man rosters if you are only going to need him for a few weeks? That, of course, leads to the question of whether or not he could be an option for the bullpen.

• Both Nick Franklin and Brad Miller appear to be improving at shortstop with Miller still better defensively.

• Corey Hart runs better than I thought he would. While still untested in right field, he has looked decent running the bases. We saw him steal home earlier in the spring on the unintended double steal and then Tuesday night he beat out an infield single and then advanced to second on a Dustin Ackley bunt. Running does not seem to be an issue with him.

• We are without a doubt seeing more small ball. More hit and runs, more steals and Tuesday night Ackley laid down a bunt, something manager Lloyd McClendon said we can look forward to seeing more.

“I think he needs to do more of that and we have a couple of other guys that need to do that as well,” he said. “Four bunt base hits led our club last year and that is not good enough. We have guys that are very talented in that area that can be impactful. Almonte, Ackley, Miller, Franklin, even Saunders. We have guys who are capable of doing it.”

Lineup!

Abraham Almonte, 8
Brad Miller, 6
Robinson Cano, 4
Justin Smoak, 3
Kyle Seager, 5
Logan Morrison, DH
Michael Saunders, 9
Dustin Ackley, 7
Mike Zunino, 2

Blake Beavan

Lineup notes: Robinson Cano is back from his trip to the Dominican Republic and in the lineup. Brad Miller is hitting second for the first time this spring. McClendon said he is at the point in the spring where he needs to find out what works with this lineup so we could see some different things in the next few days. Nick Franklin may be leading off on Thursday. Hart is not in the lineup but that does not necessarily mean he has the day off. According to McClendon, Hart will play in some minor-league games to get some extra at-bats.

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