SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mariners second baseman Jack Wilson was scratched from Thursday night's starting lineup against the Royals at Surprise Stadium about an hour before the game.He was replaced by Dustin Ackley both at second base and in the leadoff spot. A Mariners spokesman said Wilson was scratched so he could take care of an undefined personal situation. Wilson has spent the spring making the adjustment of moving from shortstop to second base and this would've been his fifth start at the new position. He started there on Wednesday night in a 5-4 loss in Peoria, Ariz., to the Brewers and went hitless in two at-bats with a run scored. Wilson is batting .435 (10-for-25) with a homer and five RBIs in nine games.
Mariners' fifth starter spot still up for grabs
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The derby for the fifth starting spot in the Mariners rotation is still wide open, manager Eric Wedge said after rookie right-hander Michael Pineda worked four innings against the Brewers in Peoria on Wednesday night.The Mariners are slated to play another night game, this one against the Royals, at Surprise Ballpark on Thursday. "We still have time," Wedge said. "We're going to play it out a little longer." Including Thursday night's game, the Mariners still have 14 games before they break camp on March 29, which means Pineda, the 22-year-old product of the Dominican Republic, should have at least two more starts. The Mariners play an exhibition game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 30, and then open the regular season at Oakland on April 1. Pineda worked four innings in a 5-4 loss to the Brewers, and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. He tossed 63 pitches. Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks had three doubles off him, and Pineda worked in and out of trouble during his outing.
2010 Spring Training - Seattle Mariners
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"He was up a little bit," Wedge said about Pineda's performance. "But more importantly, he got back down. When you see the way he was using his secondary stuff, it was as good as it looked all spring. That's a definitive positive. The fact that he worked through some situations and controlled the damage, he did a good job on that."Pineda is 0-0 with a 3.27 ERA in four appearances, three starts, allowing 12 hits and four walks in 11 innings. He said he was working on locating his changeup, and used four or five in the game. "It's a great pitch for me," he said. "I'm working all the time on getting a better changeup. In the big leagues, you need that extra pitch. My first few changeups [Wednesday night] weren't very good. My last two were much better." With veteran non-roster candidate Nate Robertson recovering from elbow surgery to remove bone chips that he underwent on Wednesday in Los Angeles, the Mariners' fifth starter battle is between Pineda and returning veterans Luke French and David Pauley. French and Pauley pitched in a Minor League game at the Peoria Sports Complex on Thursday. Robertson is not expected to be able to throw for four weeks and may not be game ready until June. Pineda said he was well aware of the competition. "I think about it a lot," Pineda said about making the club out of Spring Training. "I'm working on it."
Bradley ejected Wednesday night
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It had been a quiet spring for Mariners left-fielder Milton Bradley until he was ejected in the third inning of Wednesday night's 5-4 loss to Milwaukee. Home plate umpire Mark Buchanan ejected him for arguing a full-count, called third strike.Bradley, who seems to have some issue to deal with every year, was run by a Minor League umpire brought in for the game. "He was just a little upset at the third strike call," said Mariners manager Eric Wedge, who walked out to discuss the matter with Buchanan after the ejection. "He said one too many things and that was it. It's still the spring and you've got a lot of young umpires out there. [Buchanan] had as much as he could take and it was time for him to take it to another level." Bradley reached out to protect the base runner as Chone Figgins stole second base on Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo. About the pitch to Bradley, Gallardo said: "From my side, it was a pretty good pitch. Especially on 3-2, I had to make a good pitch and I was able to do that down and away. It was close. I think it was a strike." Bradley is batting .348 with a .423 on-base percentage, four doubles and five RBIs this spring. Last year, he played in only 73 games and underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee on Aug. 17.
Mariners trim four pitchers from roster
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners made four roster moves on Thursday, optioning right-hander Dan Cortes to Triple-A Tacoma and re-assigning right-handers Manny Delcarmen, Charlie Haeger and Chris Smith to Minor League camp.That leaves 47 players still on the Spring Training Major League roster. Haeger had back problems and made only one appearance, pitching one inning. Only a year ago, the knuckballer came out of camp with the Dodgers as their No. 5 starter. He made six starts and was 0-4 with an 8.40 ERA before being removed from the rotation. Haeger said on Thursday that his back is improving. "I just need innings," he added. "I understand that." Delcarmen, the former Red Sox reliever, made four appearances, allowing two hits and a pair of earned runs over the course of four innings. Smith made three appearances, allowing no runs and three hits in 2 2/3 innings. Cortes had trouble finding the plate, walking five and allowing three hits and two runs in four innings over four appearances.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.