Mariners fall to the Diamondbacks, almost at the midpoint of spring games

Mar 9, 2012, 5:21 PM

By Shannon Drayer

The Mariners fell 8-5 to the Diamondbacks today ending their five game win streak. Of course it is not about the wins and losses in the spring rather the questions that are answered or perhaps arise in the course of the games.

With over a third of their spring games played the Mariners should be starting to zero in on the answers. How will the rotation round out behind Felix, Vargas and Noesi? What will the bullpen look like? Is there a place for Carlos Peguero on the team if he can commit to the changes he has been asked to make at the plate?

Under the microscope today were the relievers that were signed this past off season. Shawn Camp threw a clean inning and has been making a strong case. George Sherill gave up a home run but has looked healthy after being held out of the early games. Hong-Chih Kuo struggled and showed the wildness that the Mariners were hoping was in his past surrendering a home run and walking two batters.

“He’s still struggling with his command,” Eric Wedge said after the game, “He was down at times, better, and that is the guy we need to see.”

Decisions will need to be made soon and with three pitchers sent to minor league camp this morning and more cuts expected by the end of the weekend there will be more opportunity to see the guys who could break camp with the big team.

“The focus right now is to make sure we pick the right guys,” Wedge said. “We are trying to give everyone the work they need to try to make good decisions because we have got a lot of good pitchers in camp. It is going to be a challenge for us to put this together for Japan and figure out the best way to work our roster for Japan.”

As for the offense, perhaps there could be a surprise. As I have mentioned before Carlos Peguero is getting a long look as he currently leads the team in at bats. He has been asked to quiet his swing and adjust his approach in the hopes of cutting down on his strikeouts. He hit his third home run of the spring today but Wedge is looking for more than power numbers from him right now.

“We are giving him every opportunity to get used to his new approach,” he said. “He is trying to quiet himself down with his lower half being in control. With his upper half he is so strong all he needs to do is touch the baseball and that what you are seeing when he does that he sees the ball better and he is a little more disciplined and he is able to barrel up more.”

Carlos has seen this himself telling me this morning that he surprised himself with his first home run he hit this spring.

“Sometimes I think a lot of people want me to hit a lot of homers,” he said. “I try not to think about that a lot. Just try to make contact like the first home run I hit this spring. I just tried to put the ball in the hole and make good contact and I hit a home run. Don’t think about it, make good contact and it will happen.”

Some at bats it is as easy as that. Others, it is still hard to control the monster swing but it would appear that we are seeing progress. Peguero is extremely intriguing to the Mariners and they will continue to give him a look.

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