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03/08/10 7:20 PM EST

Feierabend looks sharp in return

Mariners' surgically repaired lefty tosses two perfect frames

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It would be difficult for Mariners left-hander Ryan Feierabend to have a better outing than he had against the White Sox on Monday afternoon.

He faced six batters, and only one of them hit the ball out of the infield.

But they were the first six batters he has faced in more than a year, and that made it a five-star outing for the 24-year-old who underwent ligament replacement surgery 369 days ago.

Feierabend pitched the third and fourth innings in the Mariners' 5-4 victory in a split-squad Cactus League game at Camelback Ranch. The other Mariners team dropped a 6-2 decision to the Brewers.

"Running in from the bullpen, I couldn't calm down," Feierabend said after his two-inning stint. "When I got to the dugout, my hands were shaking."

He settled down long enough to retire the side in order, returned to the dugout for a breather, sauntered back to the mound for a second inning, and promptly retired three more batters, including a called third strike on veteran White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko.

"I worked ahead in the second inning much better than the first, and it worked out well," he said. "[Catcher Josh Bard] just said to work down in the zone."

The smile on his face was evidence enough that his comeback from Tommy John surgery was finally behind him.

"I thought I'd be leery about my elbow on certain pitches, but I was able to throw all my pitches with no problem," he said. "It's good to know I can get out there not even think about my elbow anymore."

Feierabend figures to start the season at Triple-A Tacoma, but being healthy again is the main issue.

"He looked great," bench coach Ty Van Burkleo said. "He kept them off-balance and threw strikes."

Starter Ryan Rowland-Smith worked the first two innings, surrendering one run -- Konerko's first home run of the spring -- and three hits.

The singles came immediately after the home run and put the lefty in a first-and-second-with-nobody-out bind. A double play and strikeout got him out of the inning without further damage.

"It's good, especially in Spring Training, to get yourself in jams and pitch out of them," he said. "What worked for me last year was not rushing and taking it one pitch at a time. I threw something down and away and he hit it on the ground [for a double play]. I feel really happy about that."

Rowland-Smith said he was especially pleased with his cut fastball, a pitch he has been working on to throw right-handed hitters.

It was a good day for the lefty, whose first spring start had been pushed back one day because of bad weather and almost was delayed another day, as it rained most of the night.

"I was in a bad mood driving in today when it was raining," he said. "It was about 7:30 and was still raining. I could hear it last night. I kept pausing the movie and thinking, 'You got to be kidding me.' But the sun came out and I was good to go."

Offensively, Matt Tuiasosopo went 3-for-4, driving in two runs, while designated hitter Mike Sweeney and left fielder Ezequiel Carrera had two hits apiece.

"Tui is looking great," Van Burkleo said. "You remember what he did last spring and he has picked up right where he left off. He hit four balls right on the button and got three hits.

"We've been moving him around and switched him and [Chris Woodward] just to give him a different look, which may be beneficial to him making the club."

Mariners right-hander Josh Fields nearly squandered a two-run lead in the ninth inning. He hit the first batter he faced and surrendered a triple, putting the tying run on third with nobody out.

But he retired the next three batters to secure the save.

Steven Baron, the 19-year-old catcher, caught the final inning and singled in his only at-bat.

"I hadn't had a live at-bat since October, and I came in here a little uncomfortable. I wasn't too confident," he said. "But after I saw the first pitch, I saw the ball really good and locked in from there."

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.