03/10/12 7:35 PM EST
Seager homers again, continues to impress
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Seager, 24, is now batting .353 (6-for-17) with four RBIs and five runs in six games. He came to camp with a slightly shortened swing designed to help provide more power, and the results have been promising to date.
His fifth-inning home run sailed over the center-field fence at the 410-foot mark, coming on a 1-0 pitch from former Mariners reliever Jamey Wright.
"That was very similar to the ball he hit a few days back," manager Eric Wedge said, referring to Seager's first home run last Sunday against the Padres. "It's just a good sound off the bat and he's back-spinning the ball and it's going a long way.
"He's definitely stronger and he barrels up the ball very well for a young man. He's driving it more this spring."
The Mariners have hit 13 home runs in their first nine Cactus League games.
"We're seeing some good things," said Wedge. "We need to see more of it. But I like to see what we're seeing in terms of the progress."
Wedge pleased with Iwakuma's second start
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma needed a stronger outing after his shaky debut earlier this week and the Japanese veteran delivered it with four solid innings Saturday in a Cactus League game that ended in a 5-5 tie with the Dodgers.
Iwakuma, 30, gave up four hits and two runs while throwing 52 pitches in his four frames, a big step forward from Tuesday's initiation against the Padres, when he was pulled after throwing 35 pitches and surrendering three hits in just one inning.
"I felt much better than last time," Iwakuma said through interpreter Daisuke Sekiba. "The number of throws decreased each inning, so I'm really glad to pitch this time compared to last time."
Iwakuma zipped through the first seven Dodgers he faced on Saturday before allowing a home run to catcher Matt Treanor. He gave up another run in the fourth, but was pleased with his progress.
"I kept my fastball lower and got ground balls," he said. "That's the best thing I did this time."
The Mariners would like Iwakuma to assume one of their rotation spots behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas after signing him to a one-year deal out of Japan, where he was one of the top pitchers over the past decade.
"He had more life with all his pitches," said manager Eric Wedge. "He did a good job with his fastball, moving it around. His secondary stuff was crisp. He was efficient out there. He threw the ball well today.
"I was anxious to see him pitch multiple innings and see how he comes in and out of the dugout and handles himself in different situations in the game. He was down [in the strike zone] for the most part, too, and that's what we needed to see."
Iwakuma's health was the biggest concern after he missed several months last year with elbow problems, but he said he's not worried about that at this point.
"I don't think anything about the shoulder or elbow," Iwakuma said. "I just think about good location during the game."
Wells' single turns into unorthodox double play
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners had an odd double play in the fifth inning of Saturday's 5-5 tie with the Dodgers when Casper Wells and Michael Saunders were both called out on a ball blooped to shallow right field.
Saunders was on first base following a one-out walk and took off for second on the pitch when Wells lofted a fly ball in front of right fielder Trent Oeltjen. Saunders thought the ball might be caught, so he sprinted back toward first.
But Wells was rounding the bag when the ball fell in and was ruled out for passing Saunders in the basepaths. Saunders then turned and hustled into second base, where he was tagged out after going past the bag, thinking he'd already been ruled out by the initial baserunning call.
"It was one of those situations," said manager Eric Wedge. "The runner is obviously out when he criss-crosses the other guy. Saunders just should have stayed put on the bag out there. Everybody gets a little confused as to what to do in those situations.
"The best thing to do is just stay on the bag and let the umpires figure it out. It's just one of those odd situations that come up from time to time."
Wells was awarded a base hit on the play and finished the day 2-for-4. Saunders also continued his hot spring with a 2-for-3 outing with a double, raising his Cactus League average to .333.
• The Mariners held their first full-squad Minor League workout on Saturday, with 167 players on the lower fields at the Peoria Sports Complex. Minor League games begin Friday and go through March 30.
• The season-ending regular-season game against the Angels at Safeco Field has been changed from a 7:10 p.m. start to 3:40 p.m. start to accommodate Major League Baseball's new playoff format. Because the Mariners are limited in the number of day games they can play in a season at Safeco Field, the Sept. 5 afternoon game against the Red Sox has been changed to a night contest at 7:10 p.m.
• Seattle's starters the next three days will be Felix Hernandez on Sunday against the Giants in Scottsdale, Blake Beavan on Monday against his former Rangers club in Peoria and then Hector Noesi on Tuesday against the Brewers in Maryvale.
• Single-game tickets for the regular season went on sale Saturday. For more information, check out www.mariners.com/tickets.
• With clocks being turned back an hour in the Pacific Time Zone on Saturday night, start times in Phoenix will be the same as in Seattle for the rest of the spring. Arizona does not observe daylight savings time, so it has been operating an hour ahead of PDT up to this point in the spring.