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Originally published March 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 8, 2007 at 9:07 PM

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Taking stock of M's spring camp

A game he didn't even pitch in resulted in the biggest "win" of Brandon Morrow's baseball career. That's because Morrow, hundreds of miles...

Seattle Times staff reporter

PEORIA, Ariz. — A game he didn't even pitch in resulted in the biggest "win" of Brandon Morrow's baseball career.

That's because Morrow, hundreds of miles away from his team's split-squad, 6-1 loss to the San Diego Padres here on Thursday at Peoria Stadium, effectively made the major-league roster after the game. That's when the Mariners told pitcher Jon Huber that he was being optioned to Class AAA Tacoma, eliminating the final arm competing with Morrow for a short-relief role.

There are only two other pitchers remaining in camp who've yet to be assured of a job. Both Sean White and Jake Woods are vying for a long-relief role and White — who tossed three frames of one-run ball here on Monday — is going to win out.

Woods still has an option left and can be sent to Class AAA without having to clear waivers. White is a Rule 5 pick and would have to return to the Atlanta Braves unless he's kept by Seattle.

Morrow was with the team in San Francisco for an exhibition game against the Giants on Thursday night. He has just one game of Class A experience, but impressed here this spring with his poise, high-90s fastball and 1.08 earned-run average over 8-1/3 innings.

The Mariners likely won't officially announce their final roster for another day or two.

If Morrow has emerged as the "biggest winner" of camp, then Jose Vidro, who doubled home a run here on Thursday, is the player who "proved the most" to the Mariners this spring.

Vidro hit .354 and tied Raul Ibanez for the team lead with 15 runs batted in in the final Cactus League statistics. Those numbers also proved he can still hit like he did in years past when healthy.

"I'm pretty sure all the questions were about my health, not about my performance on the field," he said. "So if I can stay healthy, I'm very confident in myself."

Vidro and the Mariners have two more unofficial spring contests, today and tomorrow against the Chicago Cubs in Las Vegas.

Here are a few other spring superlatives as the days count down to Monday's season opener:

Biggest gainer: White, who retired his first six batters here Thursday, compiled a 1.59 ERA to go from an unprotected Class AA pitcher to winning a big-league job. The Mercer Island resident, left unprotected by Atlanta in the Rule 5 draft, will now almost certainly head to Seattle as the team's long reliever. If not, the Braves will gladly take him back and stick him on their injury-riddled major-league pitching staff.

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"I hope it's Seattle, obviously, and so does my family," said White, whose father, Tom, flew down Wednesday night to see his son's final spring contest. "I feel like I've put myself in a good position. I feel like I've competed pretty well. They haven't said anything to me. Right now, I'm just waiting."

Oldest beginning: Catcher Jamie Burke, 35, has played in more than 1,000 minor-league games but just 73 in the big leagues — and only one since 2004. The Roseburg, Ore., resident is poised to make his first opening-day roster ever as Seattle's backup catcher after hitting .346.

Biggest longshot: Rey Ordonez, coming off a nearly three-year retirement, is on the verge of winning a backup infield job. To do this, the 36-year-old has to give the Mariners a reason to cut Jeremy Reed, their opening-day center fielder the past two seasons.

Biggest question mark: The bullpen setup men. Chris Reitsma and George Sherrill both struggled with their control and consistency — especially Sherrill, who looked like he might not make it north.

Oddest statistic: Richie Sexson somehow compiled 10 RBI despite having just 11 hits all spring — two of those for extra bases. Talk about timing.

Worst-looking stat: Sexson's .293 slugging percentage ties with since-released pitching prospect Jesse Foppert's ERA of 54.00. For those who ever had a shot at making the club, Huber's ERA of 9.75 and Jeff Weaver's 8.31 run a close second and third.

Most gaudy spring stat: Ibanez posted an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.311. That's Barry Bonds territory.

Biggest spring loser: Woods looked like the team's fifth starter a few weeks before camp, then seemed a lock for a long relief job when the Cactus League began. He put up a decent 2.57 ERA, but now is headed for Class AAA.

Most painful winter deal: That Rafael Soriano trade for Horacio Ramirez is killing the Mariners. Not so much because of Ramirez, but the fact that closer J.J. Putz and the short-inning relievers had such tough springs. With Soriano here, the team wouldn't even be thinking of rushing Morrow up.

Most valuable winter deal: Locking up Jose Guillen for $5.5 million — with incentives up to $8 million — is looking solid after he hit .333 and slugged .688 with four homers and five doubles this spring.

Least work: Putz will be on the opening-day squad despite tossing just one Cactus League inning.

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

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

Game 1 boxscore

Seattle (Ss) San Diego (Ss)
AB R H BI AB R H BI
Johnson cf 4 0 1 0 MGiles 2b 3 0 2 1
Valbuena 2b 2 1 1 0 Dowdy pr-2b 1 1 1 0
Vidro dh 3 0 1 1 Robles ss 3 0 1 1
Guzman pr-dh 1 0 0 0 Lopez pr-ss 1 1 0 0
Nelson lf-1b 4 0 0 0 BGiles rf 3 0 1 1
Clement c 1 0 0 0 Venable pr-rf 1 2 1 0
Moore c 1 0 0 0 Bard c 3 0 1 0
Tuiasosopo 3b 3 0 0 0 Hatcher c 1 0 0 0
Limonta 1b 2 0 0 0 Bowen dh 4 0 0 1
Frazier lf 1 0 0 0 Huffman 1b 3 0 1 0
Halman rf 3 0 1 0 Cooper 1b 1 1 0 0
Dominguez ss 2 0 0 0 Shabala cf 3 1 1 0
Prettyman ph 1 0 0 0 Sinisi lf 3 0 1 1
Headley 3b 3 0 0 0
Totals 28 1 4 1 Totals 33 6 10 5
Seattle (ss) 000 000 100 -- 1
San Diego (ss) 001 003 02x -- 6
E — Valbuena. DP — Seattle 1, San Diego 2. LOB — Seattle 3, San Diego 6. 2B — Vidro, Valbuena, Bard, Huffman. 3B — Robles, BGiles. SB — Halman. S — Headley.
Mariners IP H R ER BB SO
White, L 3 1 1 1 2 1
Huber 3 5 3 3 0 0
Woods 2 4 2 0 0 3
Padres IP H R ER BB SO
Peavy, W 3 2 0 0 0 3
Brown 2 0 0 0 2 0
KCameron 1 0 0 0 0 1
Hoffman 1 1 1 1 1 0
Hampson, S 2 1 0 0 0 2
WP — White. T — 2:15. A — 4,830.

Game 2 boxscore

Seattle (Ss) San Francisco
AB R H BI AB R H BI
Ichiro cf 2 0 1 0 Roberts cf 2 0 1 0
AJones cf 1 0 0 0 Linden cf 1 0 0 0
Beltre 3b 3 0 1 0 Vizquel ss 4 0 1 0
Dawkins 3b 1 0 1 0 De La Rosa 2b 0 0 0 0
Guillen rf 3 0 1 0 Bonds lf 3 1 2 0
Morse rf 1 0 0 0 Ellison lf 0 0 0 0
Ibanez lf 2 0 0 0 Durham 2b 3 1 1 1
Saunders lf 1 0 0 0 Frandsen pr 0 0 0 0
Sexson 1b 2 0 0 0 Aurilia 1b 2 0 1 1
Broussard 1b 1 0 0 0 Niekro 1b 2 1 1 0
Betancourt ss 3 0 0 0 Feliz 3b 4 0 1 0
Ordonez ss 1 0 1 0 Benitez p 0 0 0 0
JLopez 2b 3 0 0 0 BMolina c 4 1 2 0
BThomas p 0 0 0 0 Winn rf 3 0 1 0
Rhodes p 0 0 0 0 Zito p 2 0 0 0
Boucher ph 1 0 0 0 Alfonzo ph 1 0 1 2
Burke c 4 0 0 0 Kim p 0 0 0 0
Washburn p 2 0 0 0 BWilson p 0 0 0 0
Bloomquist ph 1 0 0 0 Leone ph-3b 1 0 0 0
Totals 32 0 5 0 Totals 32 4 12 4
Seattle (ss) 000 000 000 -- 0
San Francisco 200 002 00x -- 4
E — Betancourt, Aurilia. DP — Seattle 3. LOB — Seattle 8, San Francisco 8. 2B — Ordonez. 3B — Durham. SB — Suzuki. CS — Ellison.
Mariners IP H R ER BB SO
Washburn, L 6 11 4 4 2 3
BThomas 1 0 0 0 2 1
Rhodes 1 1 0 0 0 0
Giants IP H R ER BB SO
Zito, W 6 3 0 0 3 3
Kim 1 0 0 0 0 0
BWilson 1 1 0 0 0 0
Benitez 1 1 0 0 0 1
T — 2:06. A — 29,627.

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