3/3/2014 8:23 P.M. ET
Alert Hart steals home despite past knee issues
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Corey Hart is supposed to be slow playing things this spring, working his way back from a pair of microfracture knee surgeries that sidelined the big right fielder all of last season with the Brewers.
But Hart, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Mariners in free agency, has felt fine so far. And when the two-time All-Star found himself on third base in the fourth inning with a chance to steal home in Monday's 8-1 victory over the Rockies, well, he took it.
Hart had a solid lead and was moving down the line at third when speedster Xavier Avery took off for second in the two-out situation. So when the throw from catcher Michael McKenry bounced away from shortstop Christhian Adames, Hart kept going and crossed home plate standing for a successful double steal.
His manager's reaction?
"I fainted," said skipper Lloyd McClendon. "He wasn't supposed to be going. But to his credit, he read the ball in the dirt and it worked out for the best."
While Hart is practicing in the outfield every day and hasn't had any setbacks in the first two weeks of camp, he's played strictly designated hitter in his first three Cactus League games. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder was 0-for-1 with two walks on Monday and is 2-for-6 with three walks overall.
McClendon intends to give the nine-year veteran some time in the outfield later this week, but initially intended to take things slowly. So did he have words for Hart after his aggressive bolt for the plate?
"No," said McClendon. "They were still trying to revive me."
Seager expected to return to action Tuesday
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kyle Seager was sidelined for a fourth straight day Monday due to a sore right index finger, but the Mariners third baseman is expected to return to action Tuesday when Seattle faces the Dodgers in Glendale.
Seager jammed the finger while sliding into third base in the first inning of the Mariners' Cactus League opener last Thursday. He stayed in that game, but hasn't played since.
Manager Lloyd McClendon said Seager tried to talk him into playing Monday, but the skipper wasn't buying it. Not at this point in camp, with four weeks still to get ready for Opening Day on March 31 in Anaheim.
"We're just being precautionary with it because it's early in spring, but it's fine," said Seager, who went through a normal morning workout with the club Monday before sitting out the split-squad games in the afternoon. "It wouldn't even be an issue if this was the regular season."
Seager went from first to third on Robinson Cano's first-inning hit against the Padres in the spring opener, but rolled his hand over when he hit the bag awkwardly.
"That's what I get for sliding like that," he said. "It wasn't exactly a textbook slide. But it's fine. It's nothing major."
McClendon prefers players go in feet-first for just that reason.
"I don't really like head-first slides, but some guys are comfortable with it," McClendon said. "I'm not a fan of it. Your hands become vulnerable."
Seager won't abandon the style, however.
"Just hopefully it'll be a little better head-first slide next time," he said. "There wasn't even a throw, which just adds insult to injury."
Beavan quietly making bid for rotation spot
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Blake Beavan was an 11-game winner for the Mariners in 2012 and has 43 Major League starts on his resume, yet the big right-hander is largely overlooked when it comes to conversations about Seattle's starting candidates this spring.
But Beavan, 25, isn't worried about that. He says he feels fully healthy after a bout with tendinitis in his knee last year and has returned to the pitching mechanics that worked better for him two years ago when he started 26 games.
And as for flying under the radar? The former first-round Draft pick of the Rangers understands full well why other young pitchers like Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Brandon Maurer get so much attention.
"These guys we've got here are very special," Beavan said after throwing three innings of one-run ball in Monday's 8-1 victory over the Rockies. "Not that they're much different in age from me, but we've got Paxton, Maurer, Taijuan and all these guys that can light up the gun and show some nasty stuff out there.
"It's good to see those guys get talked about like that. They deserve it. I'm just trying to go out there and get back to where I was before last year. That's my main focus of Spring Training."
With Walker sidelined by a sore shoulder, Maurer recently slowed by a stiff back and Hisashi Iwakuma out for at least the first few weeks of the season with a sprained tendon in his finger, Beavan might prove to be an early-season fallback. And he's looked the part this spring with a 1.80 ERA in five innings in his first two appearances, scattering four hits with no walks in Monday's three frames.
"We stretched him out and he probably fatigued just a little and got a couple pitches up," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "But I thought his stuff was good for the most part all day. He did a good job for us. He's a command guy, he's not a guy that is going to light up the radar gun. He has to control the strike zone, stay down and move it in and out and he did a fine job of that today."
Beavan knows what is at stake this spring and notes "this is a big year for me" as he tries to bounce back from last year, when he started just two games before being sent down and then spent most of the year in Triple-A Tacoma outside of a long-relief stint in Seattle.
"There's been opportunity here the last couple years," he said. "It's always good to have competitive Spring Trainings and we're fortunate we've got a lot of guys who can do a lot of great things. It's just fun to see everybody pushing each other. We're still all buddies, but when we get on the mound, it's time to go after them and compete. At the end of the day, it's your turn to take care of your family and try to win a job."
• Right-hander Brandon Maurer is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut on Wednesday after coming out of Sunday's live batting practice session with no issues. He'd missed almost a week due to a stiff back, but now will throw an inning or two in relief of James Paxton in Wednesday's game against the Indians in Peoria.
• Veteran right-hander Matt Palmer continues to be sidelined by a sore calf. The non-roster invitee is part of the group expected to compete for rotation berths, but has yet to pitch in a Cactus League game.
• Felix Hernandez will pitch two innings Tuesday in his Cactus League debut against the Dodgers in Glendale. The 12:05 p.m. PT game will be shown live to MLB.TV subscribers, as well as free on the MLB Network on a delayed basis starting at 1 p.m. PT. There will be no radio broadcast of Tuesday's game.
• D.J. Peterson, last year's first-round Draft pick, was one of a large group of Minor League players who played in the late innings for the Mariners against the Rockies in Monday's 8-1 split-squad win. Peterson wasn't invited to Major League camp as the club wanted to bring him back slowly after he missed the last month of his first pro season with a broken jaw. He flied out in his lone at-bat against Rockies' 2013 first-round Draft pick Jon Gray.
• Logan Morrison saw his first action in the field this spring Monday, starting at first base and going 1-for-3 in Seattle's 6-5 split-squad victory over the Reds after playing strictly DH his first two games as he returns from knee issues that caused him to miss most of the last two springs. He's hitting .625 (5-for-8).