GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Blake Beavan is in a battle to make the Mariners' rotation coming out of Spring Training, but the 24-year-old certainly has done everything he can to make his case following a fourth strong outing on Saturday.
Beavan, 24, gave up one run on three hits over four innings in a 5-0 loss to the White Sox, putting his Cactus League ERA at 2.35 over 15 1/3 innings.
He's in competition with Hector Noesi, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kevin Millwood and Erasmo Ramirez for the three final starting spots behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas, and Beavan has said from the start this spring that he knows there are no guarantees.
"I feel like I'm doing everything I can, everything I can control, and giving myself the best opportunity to make the decision hard for those guys," Beavan said after Saturday's outing. "All anybody can do is just go out there and perform and compete and leave it up to those guys to make decisions at the end of the day, because they know what's best.
The 6-foot-7 right-hander gave up a double and run-scoring single in the first to the White Sox, but then settled in and retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced, seven of those on fly balls.
He said he was overthrowing early, bouncing a couple curveballs into the dirt in the first inning, but became more effective when he backed things down at the advice of pitching Carl Willis.
"Carl said, 'Stop trying to throw it too hard and just get a couple over for strikes and then you'll get your feel,'" said Beavan. "Once I did that a couple times I got back in that rhythm of staying on top of the ball and not trying to choke it, and it ended up working good for me."
Manager Eric Wedge said Beavan has already been stretched out enough that his workload was limited to four innings, even though he'd thrown just 48 pitches.
"We wanted to pull him back," Wedge said. "With our trip to Japan and everything, we've already got him built up to 80 [pitches]. So he's in good shape. We wanted to see some of these other guys."
What did he see from Beavan?
"I thought he threw the ball well," said the skipper. "He was a little out of sorts there in the first inning, but he fixed it and threw the ball well. He did a good job with his fastball again today.
"He trusts his fastball, he pitches with confidence. His secondary stuff continues to get better. He's still learning how to pitch, but for a young man, he's further ahead than most."
Poor spring continues for lefty Kuo
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran reliever Hong-Chih Kuo had another rough outing Saturday, giving up four hits -- including a three-run home run -- in a four-run fifth inning in Seattle's 5-0 loss to the White Sox.
Kuo, a former National League All-Star with the Dodgers, has struggled much of this spring and now has a 17.55 ERA in 6 2/3 innings over six appearances.
He gave up a leadoff double to Gordon Beckham and a bunt single by Jared Mitchell before shortstop Eduardo Escobar drove a 3-1 pitch over the left-field fence. Kuo also hit a batter and gave up an RBI single to Paul Konerko before getting out of the frame.
"He shows signs, but he's just been erratic with his fastball and his breaking ball has been in and out at times," said manager Eric Wedge. "He just hasn't been able to put it all together just yet."
Kuo, 30, was one of the Majors' top relievers with a 1.96 ERA in three seasons from 2008-10 with the Dodgers. But he was released after elbow problems and an "anxiety" issue led to a 9.00 ERA in 40 games last year.
The Mariners reassigned veteran lefty Oliver Perez and Sean Henn to their Minor League camp on Saturday, but still have George Sherrill, Charlie Furbush, Cesar Jimenez and Rule 5 Draft pick Lucas Luetge in camp as southpaw bullpen candidates.
Luetge, 24, threw two perfect innings Saturday with two strikeouts and has a 3.60 ERA in five innings over four spring outings. But he's never pitched above Double-A ball.
"He's had a real good camp," Wedge said. "He's a young man that's handled himself well and carried himself well. He's done a pretty good job against left-handers and right-handers."
Shortstop Brendan Ryan was held out of action again on Saturday because of some soreness in his leg. He'll be given Sunday off as well, manager Eric Wedge said, with the hope of returning on Monday.
Sunday's 1:05 p.m. game against the Rockies will be telecast on MLB.TV and ROOT Sports, the third of six live TV broadcasts this spring. The other remaining Cactus League TV games on ROOT are April 1-3.
MLB.TV and ROOT will also carry the Mariners' two regular-season games from Tokyo. The March 28 opener will be at 3:10 a.m. PT and the March 29 contest starts at 2:10 a.m. PT. Both games against Oakland will be rebroadcast as well in prime time in the Pacific Northwest.
Mother Nature might be a problem the next two days, with rain in the forecast in Phoenix on Sunday and Monday. The Mariners had one rainout last spring, just their fourth Cactus League cancellation since 2003.
Ichiro Suzuki didn't play on Saturday, but has hits in five of his last eight at-bats to raise his Cactus League average to .409 (9-for-22). In 12 seasons, Ichiro's spring average is .337 in 671 at-bats.