Notes: No Ichiro on the mound03/28/2004 8:34 PM ET
By Jim Street / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Let's say the Mariners are losing a one-sided game during the regular season and manager Bob Melvin decides it would be best to use a regular-position player to get some outs, rather than "waste" an appearance by a reliever.
Just whom would he use?
Much to his chagrin, Ichiro Suzuki would not be on the list of designated pitcher possibilities.
"If I asked for volunteers, he would put both hands up," Melvin said. "But I would not run Ichiro out there, believe me."
If he did, this is what you would see, according to Ichiro: "I throw a fastball and a split, just like Kazu (former closer Kazuhiro Sasaki). I think I hit 93 mph or 94 on the radar gun, but Kazu has much better movement."
Ichiro occasionally "indirectly" delivers a hint that he is ready, willing and able to pitch an inning.
"He pitched in high school and has the arm," Melvin said. "I know, indirectly, that he wants to (pitch)."
"Well, when he throws curveballs to (John) Olerud and when I see him doing it, he will look at me and nod his head," Melvin said.
According to Melvin, Ichiro also has suggested that when there's a runner on second base and is churning around third base to score on a single to right field, "How about if I throw a bit of a curveball to Olerud. They will think it's a high throw and the runner (rounding first base) will keep going, the ball will come down into Olerud's glove and we can get the runner in a rundown."
The Mariners actually twice have used position players to pitch in regular season games. Infielder Manny Castillo pitched 2 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on June 26, 1983, surrendering eight hits and seven runs in a 17-7 Seattle loss.
Outfielder John Mabry pitched two-thirds of an inning against the Devil Rays on May 28, 2000, allowing three hits and two earned runs in a 14-4 Mariners loss.
Melvin recalled two instances when he was the Diamondbacks bench coach that manager Bob Brenly used position players to pitch.
"The first time was against the Giants and we were absolutely getting killed and we brought (Steve) Finley in for an inning. Finley got a double play ball and at the end of the inning he's in the dugout with Randy Johnson telling him what he did. It really lightened the mood and we came out the next day and won."
The following season, it was the Dodgers making a late-season charge and they were hammering the D-Backs.
Brenly called on first baseman Mark Grace to pitch an inning.
"He came in there, did his (Mike) Fetters impression and that brought the house down," Melvin said. "He got two outs and then David Ross got him deep. Gracie followed him all the way around the bases. It made for a nice moment."
The Diamondbacks won the following game.
"You risk potential injury and you really don't want to deal with that," Melvin said. "At the time, it really did lighten things up and we came back the next day and won."
Rough outing: For the first time this spring, right-hander Freddy Garcia absorbed a whipping in his start against the Diamondbacks. He was scheduled to pitch six innings, but didn't make it out of the fourth in Seattle's 9-2 loss.
"He struggled a little bit with his mechanics and tried to make the adjustments," Melvin said. "But some days that is difficult to do. (The D-Backs) had some decent hitters in there and had some good swings.
"Freddy has been so good in his previous outings, especially when he had to make adjustments, but today he just couldn't do it."
Garcia said he had problems putting hitters away. "I gave up too many two-strike hits."
Said Melvin, "He would get ahead and maybe too many times he tried to finish them off with breaking balls. Early on, he got some outs with his off-speed stuff, but later on he couldn't finish it off."
Garcia also had a mental lapse during a three-run third inning that erased Seattle's one-run lead. Garcia forgot that first baseman John Olerud was playing behind the runner. When Freddy wheeled to make a pickoff throw, he stopped. The balk advanced Bobby Estalella to second base.
On a good note: Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth inning, looking much sharper than his previous one-inning outing.
"I haven't seen the readings yet, but it looked like it was better," said Melvin of Soriano's fastball, which peaked at about 92 mph during Thursday's outing. "Similar to the first time out, he had trouble getting the ball to the other side of the plate, but then threw a slider over there and everything fell into place."
Soriano, who missed most of Spring Training because of a strained oblique muscle, has a two-inning outing scheduled for Sunday in San Diego.
Evans on board: Former Dodgers general manager Dan Evans was named Sunday as a pro scout based in Southern California. He will serve in various capacities for the Mariners, ranging from scouting MLB teams, watching the Mariners minor league teams to doing some amateur scouting leading up to the First-Year Player Draft in June.
"I am looking forward to having Dan's expertise on our pro staff," said Ken Compton, the director of professional scouting. "He brings a lot of experience and knowledge to our group."
Spiezio update: Third baseman Scott Spiezio received treatment for the back spasms that limited him to one inning of Saturday's game against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
"We'll give him one more day, maybe two," Melvin said.
Camp fact: The Mariners are the only Cactus League team that doesn't play any split-squad games this spring.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.