03/10/2013 8:18 PM ET
Four pitchers sent down in Seattle's first cuts
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners made their first cuts from the Major League camp Sunday, sending down four pitchers -- right-handers Chance Ruffin, Jonathan Arias and D.J. Mitchell and lefty Brian Moran.
Ruffin, the only one of the four on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. The other three are non-roster invitees, so they were reassigned to Minor League camp.
Ruffin, 24, was acquired from the Tigers in the Doug Fister trade in 2011 and spent last year with Tacoma. He'd allowed three runs and six hits in three innings of Cactus League action this spring.
Arias, 25, is a converted catcher who split last season pitching for Class A High Desert and Double-A Jackson. He allowed two runs -- both unearned -- and three hits in four innings in Cactus League play.
Mitchell, 25, was one of two pitchers obtained from the Yankees in exchange for Ichiro Suzuki last July. He went 3-2 with a 2.96 ERA in eight starts for Tacoma last year and had a 4.15 ERA (two runs in 4 1/3 innings) this spring.
Moran, 24, split last year as a reliever for Jackson and Tacoma and had allowed three hits and no runs in four one-inning appearances this spring.
The moves leave the Mariners with 57 players in their Major League camp, with 39 roster players and 18 non-roster invitees.
Carraway gets valuable experience in spring start
PEORIA, Ariz. -- This wasn't the way Andrew Carraway would have drawn up his first Cactus League start, but the Mariners right-hander says he learned a lot in a rough two-inning outing in Seattle's 11-7 loss to the White Sox on Sunday.
Carraway allowed five runs on six hits in the first inning before settling in for a 1-2-3 second as manager Eric Wedge gave the 26-year-old a start in his first Major League camp.
"I'm really fortunate just to be in this clubhouse and get the opportunity to be part of this," said the former Virginia standout, who split last season between Triple-A and Double-A. "I was really excited to get the start and definitely didn't want it to go that way. I didn't quite feel like myself out there, but it's good to get that one out of the way."
Carraway, a control pitcher who relies on keeping hitters off balance, finally got his own feet steadied with the quick second inning when he retired the top of the White Sox lineup in order.
"I was able to get a little more comfortable," he said. "This game is so hard, you've got to go after guys with everything you've got. And when you're a little off or a little uncomfortable, it's just tougher. Give the White Sox guys credit. They were hitting the ball hard in the first inning."
Carraway said the biggest thing he came away with was a pointed reminder that he needs to keep the ball down to be effective.
"Speaking with some older guys like [Jeremy] Bonderman, I've been realizing more and more just during this Spring Training how important that is," he said. "So to get out there and be a little elevated against hitters of that caliber and have those results, it's just going to pound it into my head even more that you've got to make those pitches at the knees.
"You can make that pitch almost the exact same way, but just a couple inches up, and it's the difference between a ground-ball double play or maybe a line drive or home run. It makes a big difference."
Wedge said it was valuable experience for the youngster.
"You never know what to expect when you get a young man out there making his first start," said Wedge. "But he settled down in that second inning and threw the ball real well. He'd earned that start and that's what we told him. He'll be much more comfortable as he continues to move forward."
Kinney shut down with stress reaction in rib area
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners reliever Josh Kinney will be sidelined for several weeks after tests showed a stress reaction in his left rib area, the club announced Sunday.
Kinney, 34, will be re-evaluated toward the end of the month before determining how soon he can pitch again. A stress reaction is a precursor to a potential rib fracture, and Kinney was shut down in order to prevent the situation from getting worse.
The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings in his first three outings this spring, but struggled in his last appearance on Wednesday, when he gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning against the Brewers.
Kinney posted a 3.94 ERA in 35 relief appearances last year, establishing himself as a valued member of the bullpen after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma on July 3. He tied with Tom Wilhelmsen for the most games pitched from that point of the season on with 35, and he was second on the team in holds with nine.
Kinney's absence could open the door for veteran Kameron Loe, a former Brewers setup man who is trying to make the team as a non-roster invitee. The Mariners have some promising young right-handed power pitchers in the bullpen with Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps, but don't have a lot of established veterans beyond Kinney and Loe.
• While the Mariners have Monday off, Blake Beavan and Erasmo Ramirez will each throw four innings in a Minor League intrasquad game to stay on rotation as they continue building their pitch counts this spring.
• Felix Hernandez will make his second Cactus League start Tuesday and is scheduled to throw three innings against the D-backs in a 1:05 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium. He'll be followed by a group including Hector Noesi, Lucas Luetge and Logan Bawcom.
• Hisashi Iwakuma is slated for his fourth appearance of the spring Wednesday when he gets the start against the Royals in Surprise, Ariz.
• Ken Griffey Jr. stopped by camp Sunday before heading to Chase Field in Phoenix to throw out the first pitch prior to the U.S.-Canada game in the World Baseball Classic. Griffey spent much of the past week at the Mariners' complex talking with young players in his role as team consultant, and he said he'd return later in the month.
Griffey will be inducted into the Mariners' Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Safeco Field on Aug. 10 prior to that night's game against the Twins.
• Outfielder Casper Wells was sidelined for the second straight day Sunday with a stiff neck. Going into Sunday's action, Wells led the Cactus League with 12 RBIs and was eighth with a .667 slugging percentage.
• Michael Saunders went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs on Sunday in Canada's 9-4 loss to the United States in the World Baseball Classic. Canada was eliminated with the loss, with Saunders batting .727 (8-for-11) with three doubles, one home run and seven RBIs in three games. Third baseman Alex Liddi was 4-for-10 with two RBIs and two walks in three games for Italy, which is advancing now to the second round in Miami along with the U.S.
• Danny Hultzen threw a bullpen session Sunday as he continued coming back from a sore hip that sidelined him before his last start Monday. Wedge said Hultzen's session went well, but the club would see how he feels Monday before determining when he'll return to game action.