Things I saw today: A-Ram’s first Cactus League action, right into the fire making a nice back-handed running grab on the edge of the left-field bleachers for the first out of the game…The rest of his 5 inning day uneventful, 0 for 2 and a walk.
Derrek Lee’s RBI double in the 1st inning was an adventure for Mariner’s rightfielder Brad Wilkerson, as he misjudged the distance of Lee’s hit, taking a step or two towards the infield. Upon seeing his misjudgement, he turned and slipped, falling flat on the ground as the ball sailed to the wall.
Ryan Theriot had an excellent defensive play on Jose Lopez’ hard grounder between 3rd and short, running and fielding the ball to his right, Theriot makes a strong spinning off balance throw to nail the speedy Lopez.
Fukudome showed great hustle, stretching a single to a double, never hesitating rounding first on the play, he just slid under the tag at second. While going to 3rd on a sacrafice fly hit by Derrek Lee, Dome must have thought it wasn’t going to be a close play, he goes into third standing up. Should have slid, but luckily just beats the throw. Cubs 3rd base coach Mike Quade was doing the universal down on the ground signal- Dome’s interpreter must have thought his services weren’t needed on that one.
Felix Pie made an outstanding running catch, tracking the ball down on the warning track in left center, taking away a Mariner extra-base hit. You just can’t teach speed- dude can move. Pie also showed great hustle and his cannon arm, throwing a perfect strike to the cutoff man, Theriot, who then whirls throwing another perfect strike to nail Seattle’s previously abused Wilkerson trying to stretch a double into a triple.
Carmen Pignatiello flashed the leather in the 7th inning, making two outstanding defensive plays- including diving to the ground, quickly jumping to his feet, outruning the batter to first. The next batter hits a hot smash which Pignatiello reflexively snares and tosses to first. Kevin Hart was nailed in the left Achilles by a sharply hit liner off the bat of Bronson Sardinha. Hart stayed in for a few more batters, but you could tell he was hurtin.
NR invitee Andres Blanco made a great diving catch at shortstop on a liner by Yung Chi Chen. Carlos Marmol got himself into a jam in the 9th, as a potential closer it was interesting to see if he could get out of it. He did. Leaving a couple Mariners marooned as he finished the inning with a K.