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Mariners James Paxton, Brandon Maurer learning with every pitch
Mariners' rookie pitchers get valuable experience in victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
PEORIA, Ariz. — For highly regarded rookie pitchers James Paxton and Brandon Maurer, their second outings of the spring Friday against Texas were a mixed bag.
Paxton, making his first start after working a scoreless inning of relief on Feb. 24, struggled with his control and gave up a two-run homer to Mitch Moreland in the first inning. He allowed two more base runners but no runs in his second inning.
"Obviously, it was not ideal for me, but I feel like I'm learning," Paxton said. "I faced a pretty good lineup today. I threw some good change-ups, but just fell behind in the count and had to work back with fastballs. That doesn't really work when you get to this level."
One of the learning experiences came on the fastball that Moreland hit out. It was a decent pitch, low and inside, but Moreland was able to handle it. Paxton said he should have thrown a two-seamer, based on advice he later received from veteran Joe Saunders.
"He's a left-hand power hitter looking for that ball down and in," Paxton said. "Joe was telling me he likes to go with the two-seamer in to lefties so they see it as a fastball but it runs on their hands a little more. I'll work on that in the bullpen."
Maurer, meanwhile, followed with two scoreless innings but got some help. Kelly Shoppach erased a leadoff walk by throwing out Elvis Andrus trying to steal, while shortstop Brendan Ryan robbed David Murphy of a hit. And in Maurer's second inning, left fielder Carlos Peguero made a sliding two-out catch of an Ian Kinsler looper with the bases loaded.
"I was rushing in my second inning," Maurer said. "The game just sped up on me after I gave up that hit. I need to take a breath."
Manager Eric Wedge said spring training is all about learning such lessons.
"I think when you talk about these young kids, they gain so much experience from each outing," he said. "You go through things each outing, so many firsts. It allows us to evaluate them but also allows them to gain experience to where they can be even better at this level."
Carlos Peguero, in addition to two fine defensive plays, hit his third homer of the spring. He also had a single (plus two strikeouts), and is 6 for 13 with two walks.
Can Peguero work his way into an outfield competition previously thought to be focused on Jason Bay or Casper Wells for the final spot?
"We've got competition all over the place," Wedge said. "We're not counting anyone out. We feel we have 61 players here in camp that are all good enough to be in the big leagues. You can't say that each year."
• Dustin Ackley, breaking in a new batting stance, hit three balls hard to center, two for hits. "He's definitely staying on the baseball a little better, his balance is better," Wedge said.
• Michael Morse was happy to join the home-run parade: "The more at-bats, the more I'm starting to get that relaxed feeling, get in a little groove."
|Kinsler 2b||2||1||0||0||Ackley 2b||3||1||2||0|
|Profar 2b||2||0||1||0||Frnklin ph-2b||2||0||1||0|
|Andrus ss||2||1||1||0||Bay dh||2||2||2||2|
|L.Garcia ss||2||0||1||0||Zunino ph-dh||2||0||0||0|
|Da.Murphy lf||3||0||0||0||K.Morales 1b||3||1||2||0|
|J.Hoying lf||2||0||0||0||Jacobs 1b||2||0||0||0|
|Moreland 1b||3||1||1||3||Morse rf||2||2||2||2|
|B.Snyder 1b||2||0||0||0||J.Morban rf||1||0||0||0|
|Cnninghm rf||3||0||0||0||M.Saundrs cf||4||1||1||2|
|J.Adduci rf||1||1||0||0||Shoppach c||3||0||0||0|
|Soto c||3||0||2||0||J.Hicks c||1||0||0||0|
|H.Alberto pr||0||0||0||0||C.Peguero lf||4||1||2||1|
|J.Felix c||1||0||0||0||Andino 3b||3||0||0||0|
|L.Martin dh||2||2||1||0||V.Ctricala 3b||1||0||0||0|
|Olt 3b||3||0||0||0||Ryan ss||3||0||1||0|
|Y.Solarte 3b||1||0||1||2||Triunfel ss||1||0||0||0|
|Texas||210 010 020||—||6|
|Seattle||112 400 00x||—||8|
|Burns L, 0-1||1 1/3||3||4||4||1||1|
|B.Maurer W, 1-0||2||2||0||0||2||2|
Spring Training statistics