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Friday, March 10, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mariners

Notebook: Blister busts right-hander Foppert's start

Seattle Times staff reporter

TUCSON, Ariz. — When a reporter asked Jesse Foppert after his tough start yesterday if he had blister troubles, the pitcher said no.

In fact, after he had lasted just two of a scheduled three innings and was checking his right middle finger as he walked off the mound, Foppert said instead the baseballs had been slick. "It's dry here," he explained.

Well, it's one thing to shut out a prying media type; it's another not to tell the manager, pitching coach and trainer what's going on.

In the first inning of the Mariners' 10-3 loss to the White Sox, a game Seattle led 3-1 after two innings, Foppert developed a blister.

It led to four walks — not the way to impress the powers that be, who were not impressed, although the right-hander did not allow a hit, either.

After the second inning, Foppert, who general manager Bill Bavasi said has a history of blister issues, fessed up in the dugout and was done for the day.

"He wants to do well, didn't want to cry wolf," manager Mike Hargrove said. "We've all been there. The best thing is to let people know. If he tells you, the trainer can work on him and limit the damage."

Hargrove knows and has empathy with Foppert's rationale.

"He's trying to show he's a competitor, that he can deal with adversity," Hargrove said. "Great reasons, wrong results."

While Foppert will find out how much the blister will affect his pitching schedule, he had some good news, too.

"My arm felt great," he said of his outing. "The ball was just moving too much on me. It was moving out of the zone to my arm side, and when I tried to correct to the left, I was yanking the pitch."

Control issues

Ironically, Foppert and lefty Lindsay Gulin, who also walked four, had the best day on the mound. Scott Atchison and Renee Cortez had better control and got pounded.

Atchison, who gave up eight runs in his previous outing, was tagged for four runs and one of three White Sox home runs. Cortez gave up the other two as another spring game that had been close for a while went into the dumpster as the Mariners fell to 1-6, allowing double-digit runs in five of the setbacks.

"When you look at our games, the guys we're counting on are throwing strikes and we're staying in games while they're pitching," Hargrove said. "The first five innings or so we're in the games or we're ahead."

Then, as is typical in spring games, the kids come in to show what they've got and, as Hargrove put it, what they had is too often "excitement and overthrowing, trying to be too nasty."

This is both disappointing and frustrating to Hargrove, who has tried to hammer home the message of throwing first-pitch strikes.

"You see those kids on the mound and guys like Cortez and [Yorman] Bazardo, and they've got lighting in their arms," he said. "As they settle in and settle down, they'll be fine."

Bazardo relieved Cortez in the eighth after the first five batters reached and scored on homers.

When the club gets back to Peoria, there will be a meeting of all pitchers. "We will continue to hammer home the point of throwing first-pitch strikes," Hargrove said.

Off to an iffy start

Atchison has a 29.46 earned-run average and, as one might imagine, is stressed, but not to the point of losing his control. While giving up 12 runs and 15 hits in 3-2/3 innings, he has walked only one.

"I'm making mistakes and they're hitting every one," said the right-hander, whose forte is control. "I'd like to be able to say once, 'Whew, I got away with that.' But I do have to make better pitches.

"I just keep throwing it in there. I've gone through this before, but when you start the spring this way it's a glaring thing. My timing for this is bad, too. Hopefully, they'll know that I'm better than this and stick with me."

Note

• Seattle went into the game hitting .317, third in the American League this spring, and had four hits for three runs in the first two innings, including Raul Ibanez's two-run homer in the first. But it had only two singles over the last seven innings.

Thursday's box score

Seattle Chicago (A)
AB R H BI AB R H BI
Reed cf 3 0 1 0 Owens cf 5 2 1 0
Jones cf 1 0 0 0 Gload 1b 3 1 2 2
Betancourt ss 3 1 1 0 Rogowski 1b 1 1 0 0
Cabrera ss 1 0 0 0 Thome dh 3 1 1 1
Ibanez lf 3 1 1 2 Amador dh 0 1 0 0
Morse lf 1 0 0 0 Crede 3b 2 0 0 1
Sexson 1b 3 0 0 0 Fields 3b 1 1 1 3
Sears 1b 1 0 0 0 Pierzynski c 2 0 2 0
Everett dh 3 0 0 0 Stewart c 2 1 1 0
Clement dh 1 0 0 0 Ozuna 2b 2 0 1 0
Jojima c 3 1 1 0 Lopez 2b 1 0 0 0
Miller c 1 0 0 0 Mackowiak rf 2 0 0 0
Dobbs 3b 4 0 1 0 Blakely lf 2 1 1 2
Lopez 2b 3 0 1 1 Sweeney lf-rf 4 1 2 1
Ransom 2b 1 0 0 0 Valido ss 4 0 2 0
Choo rf 2 0 0 0
Totals 34 3 6 3 Totals 34 10 14 10
Seattle 210 000 000 3
Chicago (A) 102 200 05x 10
E — Miller, Crede, Fields. DP — Seattle 1, Chicago 1. LOB — Seattle 5, Chicago 12. 2B — Betancourt, Gload, Stewart. 3B — Thome. HR — Ibanez, Gload, Sweeney, Fields, Blakely. SB — Owens. CS — Valido, Pierzynski. S — Mackowiak. SF — Crede.
Mariners IP H R ER BB SO
Foppert 2 0 1 1 4 1
Atchison, L 2 6 4 4 1 1
Gulin 2 2 0 0 4 2
Cortez 1 1/3 4 5 4 1 1
Bazardo 2/3 2 0 0 0 0
White Sox IP H R ER BB SO
McCarthy, W 4 5 3 2 0 3
Reynoso 2 1 0 0 1 2
Tracey 1 0 0 0 0 0
Almanza 1 0 0 0 0 2
Montero 1 0 0 0 0 0
WP — Foppert. T — 2:40. A.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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