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Thursday, April 5, 2007 - Page updated at 09:07 PM

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M's Notebook | Rangers' run won't hurt Morrow's case

Seattle Times staff reporter

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Somebody finally scored a run off Mariners pitcher Brandon Morrow.

But the fact that Morrow, attempting to jump from Class A to the majors, prevented any others from crossing the plate after a bases-loaded, one-out jam may have scored him points with the coaching staff. At the very least, the go-ahead run yielded by Morrow in the seventh inning of Seattle's 10-6 loss to the Texas Rangers doesn't appear to have hurt his chances of heading north.

"That's really the first time that anybody's hit him hard this spring," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said, having watched the team's first-round pick allow back-to-back singles to Ian Kinsler and Brad Wilkerson to open the seventh.

"Kinsler hit the ball hard. And then, after that, he really wasn't hit that hard. It's one of many. It really hasn't damaged any chances he may have of making the ballclub."

After the two hits, Nelson Cruz hit a fly ball to center. Both runners tagged up and advanced as center fielder Adam Jones made the catch. Morrow walked Gerald Laird on four pitches to load the bases, and the next batter, Mike Standridge, bounced a ball to the right side to score the first run allowed by the pitcher in 7-2/3 innings this spring.

The inning ended when Morrow got pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. to ground into a fielder's choice at third.

"One run's better than three, like giving up a big double or something," Morrow said. "A couple of infield choppers and I'm out of it. So it's OK."

Hargrove said Morrow threw a few too many breaking balls, and Morrow agreed he should have thrown more fastballs, his best pitch.

It was a tough night all around for Seattle pitching. Hargrove got ejected in the first by plate umpire Rob Drake for arguing balls and strikes. Mariners starter Miguel Batista gave up three runs that inning and three more in his sixth and final frame.

Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty, a Walla Walla native vying for a bullpen job, also yielded two doubles and a two-run homer to Mark Teixeira in a three-run eighth for the Rangers.

Batista's rough first inning was made worse when he was drilled in the ribs by a Matt Kata liner. But he shook it off and went on to retire eight in a row.

"I guess that was a good wake-up call," Batista said. "I pitched better or I would have gotten killed. There were a couple of balls that passed by the mound, so I was like, well, I'd better start hitting some corners."

Vidro brings weighty issue to dugout

An 8-pound weight has been Jose Vidro's best friend in the dugout as he adjusts to the reality of being a designated hitter. Vidro uses the weight to work his arms and wrists as he sits in the dugout between at-bats.

"It helps keep me loose," he said. "There are times, I find, where I start to stiffen up if I'm sitting around too long, so this helps."

Vidro entered Monday night's game hitting .353 with a .431 on-base percentage, four doubles and 12 runs batted in. That's second only to Raul Ibanez for the team RBI lead and has helped secure Vidro the No. 3 spot in the batting order.

Despite his spring success, Vidro does have some changes planned for once he starts playing at Safeco Field. He finds himself tiring a little by the latter innings and wants something other than the weight to help keep his body loose — especially his legs.

"I want to find a bike there or something I can use around the fifth or sixth innings," he said. "Over here, we can't go from the dugout to the clubhouse. But when we get back to Seattle, I'd like to go in the clubhouse later on and start riding the bike a little."

Notes

Ben Broussard had a big night as he prepares to head north as the backup at first base, left field and right field. He made a sliding catch in left to rob Cruz of extra bases in the third, then hit solo home runs in the fourth inning off Jamey Wright and in the sixth off C.J. Wilson.

Jose Guillen hit a solo homer off Wright in the second inning, his fourth long ball this spring.

Richie Sexson collected his sixth and seventh RBI this spring on just his sixth hit, a third-inning single to left. Only one of Sexson's hits has been for extra bases — a home run clubbed 15 days ago.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com.

Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners

Monday's box score

Seattle Texas
AB R H BI AB R H BI
Ichiro cf 3 1 1 1 Lofton cf 4 1 3 0
AJones cf 2 0 0 0 Hairston ph-cf 1 0 0 0
Beltre 3b 2 1 0 0 Catalanotto dh 5 0 1 0
Dawkins 3b 1 0 0 0 MYoung ss 4 2 3 1
Vidro dh 4 0 1 0 Vazquez ss 1 1 1 0
Sexson 1b 3 0 1 2 Teixeira 1b 4 3 2 3
Morse rf 1 0 0 0 Kinsler 2b 4 2 2 1
Guillen rf 3 1 1 1 Hulett 2b 1 1 1 0
Reed lf 1 0 0 0 Wilkerson lf 5 0 2 1
Broussrd lf-1b 4 2 2 2 NCruz rf 4 0 1 1
Johjima c 2 0 0 0 Boggs rf 1 0 0 0
RRivera c 1 0 1 0 Laird c 3 0 1 1
Betancourt ss 3 1 1 0 Ojeda c 0 0 0 0
Chen 2b 1 0 0 0 Kata 3b 3 0 0 0
Ordonez 2b-ss 4 0 0 0 Fox 3b 1 0 0 1
Totals 35 6 8 6 Totals 41 10 17 9
Seattle 013 101 000 -- 6
Texas 300 030 13x -- 10
E — Wright. DP — Texas 1. LOB — Seattle 4, Texas 9. 2B — Betancourt, RRivera, Teixeira, Vazquez, Hulett. 3B — Laird. HR — Guillen, Broussard 2, Teixeira.
Mariners IP H R ER BB SO
Batista 6 12 6 6 1 2
Morrow, L 1 2 1 1 1 0
O'Flaherty 1 3 3 2 0 1
Rangers IP H R ER BB SO
Wright 5 1/3 6 5 5 1 0
CWilson 2/3 1 1 1 0 0
Otsuka, W 1 0 0 0 0 2
Benoit 1 0 0 0 0 3
German 1 1 0 0 0 2
HBP — by CWilson (Johjima). WP — O'Flaherty. PB — RRivera. T — 2:40. A. 7,550.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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