The hits and misses of a 6-6 standoff with Royals

The Mariners went into today’s Cactus League game against the Royals with three players still looking for the first hit.

It’s two down, one to go.

Designated hitter Ken Griffey Jr. ended an 0-for-5 start with a double to center field in the fourth inning and second baseman Chone Figgins lined a run-scoring triple past a diving Scott Podsednik in center field for his first hit in 12 at-bats, capping the Mariners’ four-run rally.

Griffey demonstrated his sense of humor, having the ball he hit taken out of play. Someone else (probably Mike Sweeney) tossed into the stands.

Catcher Josh Bard (0-for-8) has yet to get at least one hit. Interestingly, he flied out to center field (“8” in your scorebook) three times in today’s 6-6 nine-inning tie with the visiting Royals.

There must be something about Arizona that brings out the best in Matt Tuiasosopo.

The Woodinville High product had a .424 Cactus League batting average last season, going 25-for-59, and is 9-for-19 (.474) after drilling a double high off the wall in center field in the fifth inning and smacking a solo home run to left field in the fifth inning.

The groin injury to Jack Hannahan could help Tui’s chances of being on the 25-man Opening Day roster, but he probably would be better off playing every day at Triple-A Tacoma than now-and-then with the Mariners. Missing the first half of last season because of injury set him back a bit.

Right-handed closer David Aardsma returned to action following a seven-day respite to allow a strained right groin to heal. He pitched one inning, allowed an unearned run, and was pleased.

“I’m very happy with the way I feel,” he said. “I did exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to walk away healthy and feeling good, and I did that. And I made some good pitches along the way, a couple of good ground balls, strikeout and then the popup. Can’t be too down about it.”

An error by second baseman Chone Figgins led to the run.

“I actually thought my stuff was pretty good. Speed-wise it was pretty good and location-wise I was very happy,” Aardsma added. “You don’t want to be missing outings. I could have been a little sharper with a couple of pitches here and there, but I thought I made some good pitches when I needed to. I thought the ground balls were great pitches. It’s Spring Training, big deal that they got through. But I thought they were very good pitches in my spot and that’s all I can do. Where they hit it, I can’t control that.”

Starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, went the first two innings and it was a rocky outing — four hits, three runs.

“I was kind of rushing a little bit and I wasn’t staying back,” he said. “I felt when I stayed back the pitch was sharper, the pitch was down. As Spring Training goes on and you get more and more innings, sure enough you’ll get your head around it and you’ll do it every single pitch.

I got ahead in the count pretty good and all of a sudden I left the ball down the middle, and you’re going to get hit when you do that.”

The ending of today’s game had a peculiar ending. Usually when a game is tied after nine innings the teams play one extra inning. Not this time.

The Royals were out of pitchers so the game ended in a 6-all tie.

— Jim Street

1 Comment

Thanks for the report, Jim. Way to get it going with a couple hits, Griff!

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