03/01/11 8:50 PM ET
Mariners' rookie pitchers put best foot forward
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Beavan and Josh Lueke, both acquired from Texas in the Cliff Lee deal, were joined by Dan Cortes in relief as Seattle used three of its prized prospects in the 5-4 win.
Lueke and Cortes both pitched shutout innings while giving up one hit in pitching against a Texas team that included only four Rangers regulars. Veterans Royce Ring and Fabio Castro also threw scoreless frames, while Denny Bautista gave up a pair of runs in the ninth before closing the door.
Beavan appears to be getting stretched out as a starting candidate. He'll pitch again on Saturday against the Indians. Lueke and Cortes are battling for bullpen spots, and both threw much better than in their intrasquad outings last week.
"That was just good to get out there and get that first one out of the way, and play behind some big league defense and come after a veteran like Nate [Robertson]," Beavan said. "After the first inning, I kind of dialed it in a little bit more and definitely felt more comfortable."
Beavan, who was pitching Double-A ball for Texas last year at the time of the trade, said he enjoyed going against his former club.
"It was fun to pitch against them," he said. "But I didn't know a whole lot about the hitters and stuff. Most of those guys were big league guys or had big league time. [Mitch] Moreland and [Chris] Davis were the only guys I'd faced.
"But I thought I threw the ball well. Bad luck with a bloop hit and a rollover through the infield, but for the most part I thought I threw strikes. I had a lot of fun out there. I can't wait for my next one."
Bradley eases doubts about playing for Wedge
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Milton Bradley has raised plenty of questions over the years. But the veteran outfielder provided some answers on Tuesday, as he continued his hot start to Cactus League play with a 3-for-3 day against his former Texas team.
Bradley is 4-for-6 in two games with three RBIs this spring, and any doubt about his ability to play for Eric Wedge -- his former manager in Cleveland -- appear to be diminishing.
"Wedge will get the most out of everybody on this team," Bradley told reporters after the game. "He'll get the most from me. He's constantly communicating, constantly teaching. When we were together before, I didn't want to hear it. Now, I hear it and I know it's not personal, even if he gets in your face. He's trying to make you better."
Wedge, who ran into problems with Bradley in their previous time together in 2003-04, said the 32-year-old is working hard and doing well with everything, so far.
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"I think he's having a good time," Wedge said. "He's enjoying himself, he's enjoying his teammates. I love his work ethic. His approach has been good. I just want him to sustain that."
Bradley, who hit just .205 last year before his season ended on July 31 with a knee problem, seems to have tuned out the distractions, for now.
"For me here, it needs to be about baseball," he said. "Baseball is what I do best. I'm 100 percent focused."
Even when the occasional leather-lunged fan zeroes in on him. Bradley said he has heard a couple of hecklers in Peoria, but isn't letting them bother him.
"I heard one guy [boo in the opener] and no one joined him," he said. "Today, there was one guy in the outfield yelling 'Drop the ball' and 'nice base running.' I figure I had one guy like that and a stadium full of people behind me.
"When self doubt creeps in, you hear those voices a little more loudly. The key is not to let them in."
Wedge, who would love to have a productive Bradley bat to help out the middle of his order, had him hitting third and playing left field on Tuesday. His only issue was getting caught off second base in the third inning, but he came back with a run-scoring double in the fifth for his third hit of the game.
"He looked good," Wedge said. "He's really been working hard. With his batting practice and his approach, he's a veteran guy and you know it's going to leak into his game. It's nice to see it already getting that way. It was nice to get him out in the field, as well. So, yeah, a good day.
"He just needs to be patient and let the game come to him, and that's what I think you're seeing."
Robertson gets off to a nice start
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Veteran left-hander Nate Robertson, who is trying to land a spot in the rotation as a non-roster invitee, got out of the box well with two scoreless innings in his first start on Tuesday in the Mariners' 5-4 victory over Texas.
Robertson, 33, gave up three hits and struck out three while throwing 31 pitches.
"He was good," manager Eric Wedge said. "I liked the way he used his fastball on both sides of the plate. He was getting underneath some bats with some breaking balls. He was strong today."
Robertson knows he needs to make an early impression, given he signed a Minor League deal and will need to force his way onto the 40-man roster to get a job out of camp.
"At any given moment, it's game on," he said. "I think early on they just look at guys getting into the routine of things, but it's coming quick [to] where it's evaluation time. They're not handing out Cy Young Awards in Spring Training, but at the same time, people have to make this team. There are jobs to be filled, and they'll have to make decisions.
"They're not going to be fun decisions, but you just want everybody in here to have a healthy competition, stay healthy and have fun. There's nobody that's not pulling for the next guy. Everybody needs to put their best foot forward, and obviously pretty quick."
Paxton heads to Seattle for physical
PEORIA, Ariz. -- James Paxton, the Mariners' fourth-round Draft pick last year, will be in Seattle on Wednesday to take a physical in advance of signing with the club, according to the Seattle Times.
The Mariners, who have a policy against commenting on any negotiations still underway, declined to comment on the report.
The 6-foot-4 left-hander was originally a supplemental first-round Draft pick of the Blue Jays in '09 out of the University of Kentucky, but didn't sign and then was declared ineligible by the NCAA for using agent Scott Boras while still in school.
The native of Ladner, British Columbia, then pitched Independent League ball and was drafted by the Mariners in the fourth-round last year, but again held out until now.
If he passes his physical and signs, it's believed he'll report immediately to the Mariners' Major League camp.