SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hitting the stretch drive to earning a job on Seattle's pitching staff, left-hander Luke French had what could be considered both a typical and an atypical Spring Training outing Wednesday night against Colorado.It was out of the ordinary because it came under the lights of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and in front of a sellout crowd of 12,261, conditions French liked because "it made it feel like it will be in the regular season." And his three-inning start was also quintessentially preseason, because he gave up five runs, yet came off the mound pleased. "There were some hard hit balls, but also some balls on the ground that got through," said French, who in eight prior Cactus League innings had allowed only one run. "I felt I threw the ball well, even though I had that one rough inning [a five-run third]." He was most pleased by again having kept the ball in the park. In 11 innings this spring, he hasn't allowed a home run -- not insignificant for a guy who has surrendered a total of 24 homers in 155 Major League innings. "That's something I've been working on this spring," French acknowledged. "I'm focusing on trying to keep the ball down, giving me a better chance of getting it hit on the ground." Also noteworthy is French's strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 9-2, compared to 79-59 in his big-league time. The 25-year-old, acquired from Detroit in the July 31, 2009 deal of Jarrod Washburn, is still in the running for a spot at the back-end of the rotation, or barring that, a bullpen role.
Trio of players named Wilson now part of history
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Mariners' starting lineup in Wednesday night's game against the Rockies could have been sponsored by a certain sporting goods company.Players named Wilson comprised a third of the lineup: Jack at second base, Mike in right field and Josh at third base. Exhibition or not, starting a trio of namesakes in one lineup is extremely rare. In fact, out of 5,383 regular season games in their history, the Mariners have done so only once. For a game on Sept. 23, 1983 in Texas, Seattle had Ricky Nelson in right field, and Jamie Nelson catching starting pitcher Gene Nelson, according to STATS, Inc. Furthermore, the oddity has occurred only five other times since 1946, most recently on the 2007 Braves. On Sept. 17 against the Marlins, Atlanta went with Chipper Jones at third base, Brandon Jones in left field and Andruw Jones in center. And here is perhaps the most surprising aspect of this esoterica: The three Alou brothers never shared the same starting lineup, even though Matty, Jesus and Felipe were all members of the 1963 San Francisco Giants. But while Felipe was that club's regular right fielder, Matty was used almost exclusively off the bench and Jesus, the "baby" of the family, was a September call-up as a 21-year-old. Not without a sense of dramatics, the manager of those Giants, Al Dark, was conscious of making history by having all three brothers play simultaneously in the outfield. He made that happen on Sept. 15, when Matty was in left, Felipe in center and Jesus in right for the final two innings of a 13-5 victory at Pittsburgh.
The Mariners started an all-Colorado battery in Wednesday night's game against the Rockies -- pitcher Luke French (Littleton) and catcher Josh Bard (Englewood). Bard was actually drafted by the Rockies, in the third round in 1999, but was dealt away before ever appearing in a game for them. ... French's arrival to the mound was greeted boisterously by members of the baseball team of Heritage High School, his alma mater, in town for a prep tournament. ... Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez remained out with his sore back, and will be re-evaluated on Thursday. ... The three Ryans (Seattle's Brendan and Langerhans, Colorado's Spilborghs) combined for five hits, five RBIs and four runs in the Rockies' 6-5 win.