Carlos Peguero shows power, discipline for Mariners by launching two long homers
Carlos Peguero still is likely the odd man out of Mariners crowded outfield.
Seattle Times staff reporter
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Carlos Peguero has tried to show more patience this spring. He'll likely need plenty more once the regular season begins.
The Mariners simply don't have much room for his man-sized swings in their crowded outfield right now, so he'll likely start the year again in Class AAA Tacoma. But when those swings connect, as they did here for a pair of home runs Wednesday in a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, the Mariners remember why they've stuck by the big man.
The knock on Peguero in his first two call-ups with the team in 2011 and 2012 was that the tape-measure home runs he hit couldn't offset all his strikeouts and weak on-base percentage. But Peguero, who already has drawn more walks in his first two plate appearances this spring than in all 56 at-bats with the Mariners last year, says he's trying to be more selective.
"I'm trying to hit one pitch in an at-bat," said the 6-foot-5, 260-pound left-handed hitter. "I'm not trying to hit three or four pitches. Just try to concentrate on my pitch and then get a good swing on the pitch I want."
His first blast, in the third inning off Indians starter Brett Myers, went the opposite way and easily cleared the wall in left-center. Then, in the fourth, he pulled a Corey Kluber pitch over the right-field wall and off the roof of a cement structure that hangs over the bleachers.
Despite the power display, Peguero's chances of making the team appear slim. The Mariners already plan to keep outfielders Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Saunders, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez and will likely give the fifth and final spot to Casper Wells or Jason Bay.
That means another year starting in Class AAA for Peguero, 26. But the team has passed on prior opportunities to take him off the 40-man roster — trading Mike Carp and Shawn Kelley instead to free up roster spots. The Mariners seem determined to keep Peguero as long as possible, hoping his plate discipline will catch up with this power to make him a more well-rounded hitter.
For now, he'll have to keep showing similar restraint on unhittable pitches and keep doing what he did Wednesday with the hittable ones.
• Hector Noesi tossed a scoreless sixth inning in his first game action since giving up five runs (four earned) in two-thirds of an inning of his Cactus League debut last Friday. Noesi served up two singles — one of them an infield hit — but also struck out two.
• Kendrys Morales notched his first two hits of the spring with a pair of hard singles his first two times up.
• Ibanez collected an early double in a three-run fourth inning, but then had an embarrassing moment when trying to score on a Saunders single. Ibanez lost his balance and face-planted in the dirt while rounding third base and had to retreat to the bag.
Moments later he scored on a double-play grounder.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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