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MARINERS NOTES: Fister bounces back well after getting hit

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Associated Press
Ten days after his right forearm ballooned up like Popeye's when he was smoked by a line drive, Doug Fister faced hitters Monday in a minor league intrasquad game. He threw 65 pitches for the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers against the Class AA West Tennessee DiamondJaxx and struck out five.
And most importantly, Fister said his arm felt fine.
“There was swelling and stiffness (after the injury), but it didn't impact anything,” he said. “I just had to get back up there and have confidence and go pitch.”
Fister gave up a home run to Carlos Peguero (who hit 31 of them last year at Class A High Desert), but otherwise kept his pitches down and seemed ready for the next step, a start this weekend against the Rockies in Albuquerque.
Pitching coach Rick Adair said no decisions have been made concerning the starting rotation, although Fister remains in line to start in either the fourth or fifth spots.
Adair said Fister would throw 75-80 pitches in his next start, “then we'll see where we are.”
Gutierrez delivers winning HR
One day after manager Don Wakamatsu said Casey Kotchman would get a lot of at-bats from the No. 3 spot in the order, he rolled out a lineup against the Oakland A's on Monday with Franklin Gutierrez batting third.
“We'd like to see how this works, flipping him and Kotch out of that three hole,” Wakamatsu said. “I like what I've seen. Both of those guys give us quality at-bats. It's not so much power, but it's about maximizing (quality at-bats) at the top of the order.”
Gutierrez's power helped the Mariners win another low-scoring game Monday. His home run in the ninth inning beat the A's 3-2.
The Mariners went into the game having scored one run in their previous two games. Josh Bard homered in the eighth inning and the Mariners scored in the third on a wild pitch.
Wakamatsu isn't overly concerned about the slim run production. Yet.
“Obviously we are concerned but you don't really know until the lights go on,” he said. “I think we have a lot of talent there (on offense) and once we get them together we'll see. If it continues, yeah you are concerned about it, but right now I don't give a lot of stock to it.”
Lee continues to wait on suspension
Pitcher Cliff Lee's hearing on his five-game suspension, which was supposed to be held Monday via conference call, was postponed by Major League Baseball because not all the necessary participants could take part.
The Mariners are eager for a resolution so they can deal with it and Lee's recovery from a strained lower right abdominal muscle. Among possible scenarios is to have Lee serve the suspension, and play a man short on the roster, and then place him on the disabled list.
The Mariners don't know when the hearing will be held, general manager Jack Zduriencik said.
“They said they will get back to us when there is an exact date,” Zduriencik said. “It would be nice to get it behind us, but we'll wait for them to reschedule it and deal with it at that point in time.”
Lee suffered the injury in the same game, March 15 against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Tucson, that led to his suspension. He and Diamondbacks catcher Chris Snyder collided when Lee attempted to back up home plate. The two had words and, two innings later, Lee threw two inside pitches at Snyder, including one near his head.
Snyder approached the mound and, although no punches were thrown, Lee was ejected. Two days later, Lee was handed a five-game suspension.
Three days after that game, Lee tried to throw his regular between-starts bullpen session and felt discomfort. He received a platelet injection at the site of the injury and played catch twice, but continued to feel discomfort.
The Mariners shut him down for five days with plans to have him re-evaluated on Wednesday. Monday, he threw a baseball from a chair in order to prevent irritation of the injured area.
“He actually is doing pretty good right now,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He actually did some stuff in the pool today and did some throwing (while sitting) on a chair, which is kind of isolated. He stretched it out a little and didn't feel anything at all and that's a positive.”
Bizarre baseball
The Mariners spent their first hour on the practice field Monday playing a game of “ragball” or, as many of them called it, “bizzarreball.” It was bizarre, with opposing squads managed by Chone Figgins and Milton Bradley, and some unique rules. Nobody could bat from their natural side, a soft “ragball” was used, and players ran the opposite way around the bases.
A few highlights (or lowlights):
  • Bradley went into a mock rage, stomping onto the field and pulling first ... er ... third base out of the ground and throwing it.

  • Figgins inserted pitcher Jesus Colome as a pinch-hitter, but the opposition protested Colome's eligibility. During a discussion at home plate with “umpire” Josh Bard (who gladly accepted bribes), Figgins appeared to produce documentation that Colome should be allowed to play. That's when Ken Griffey Jr. screamed from the other dugout: “But that's a Dominican birth certificate!”

  • Figgins and Bradley pulled a mid-game trade, Figgins sending Adam Moore to the other side in exchange for 7-year-old Tevin Griffey.

  • Mike Sweeney hit a “six-run” homer. After the ball cleared the fence, he called for a pinch-runner to help him in his home-run trot. Five teammates left the bench and joined Sweeney around the bases — Jose Lopez, Casey Kotchman, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Ian Snell and Felix Hernandez.
    Umpire Bard then delivered the bad news, ruling it only a three-run homer. Griffey, who'd been chirping from the other side, said, “OK, we can live with that.”

  • Today in camp
    It's the Mariners' second and last day off of sprig training. After this, the Mariners will play 15 straight games before their next day off April 15, including 10 straight to begin the regular season.
    Of note
    Griffey has long resisted playing in road spring training games, saying he didn't have a pair of gray pants. Monday was different, when he played at Phoenix against the A's. “His pants came in,” Wakamatsu said. ... Erik Bedard threw lightly from a mound Monday morning as he continues his comeback from shoulder surgery in August. He was far from a full-fledged bullpen session. “Just a touch and feel,” Wakamatsu said. ... Griffey, Sweeney and Figgins spoke to the Mariners' minor leaguers about hitting. ... Play-by-play broadcaster Dave Niehaus had the day off Monday to spend the day with family. Rick Rizzs called all nine innings with analyst Mike Blowers.
    Read Kirby Arnold's blog on the Mariners at
    Story tags » Mariners

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