Mariners Spring Training Game Fifteen: Mariners 7, Reds 6

The Mariner outfield is looking better and better everyday. Today’s win was keyed by Mitch Haniger’s clutch hitting and Dyson’s skill on the basepaths. Also, Taylor Motter’s hair.

Motter drove in two runs and stole a base all while wooing the crowd with his luscious locks, including an RBI single in the third and a sac fly in the fourth. He’s provided solid defensive plays in several infield spots as well, and is making a great case for the major league squad.

Mitch Haniger is proving to be a quality acquisition, he doubled in Motter in the third and singled in Shawn O’Malley the next inning. He’s batting .448 for the Spring with two homers and six RBIs. Hopefully he can hold up to the rigors of the major league schedule as a starter come April.

Chase de Jong got the start today, going three innings. He struggled a bit, allowing four hits and three earned runs. He’s definitely intended more for a long relief position out of the bullpen, but as such his consistency needs to pick up. The bullpen has struggled a bit this Spring, and is likely the biggest concern of the club going into April. De Jong has a 5.14 ERA over seven innings, Marc Rzepczynski has a 15.00 ERA with a small sample set of three innings, and Thyago Vieira has struggled with control over his little time out. As always, there should be a fair bit of movement between AAA and the MLB club in the bullpen, to keep guys pitching and working out the kinks.

Reliever Shae Simmons pitched in the seventh, but was taken out after reporting forearm tightness. He’s still relatively fresh off of Tommy John, so the M’s won’t take any chances, especially not over an exhibition game.

Mike Zunino continues to impress with his performance at the plate. He came away with a double and a walk and a run scored. He’s looking miles ahead of where he was last season, which was already an improvement from before. Between him and veteran Carlos Ruiz, the M’s are locked down at catcher.

The M’s head to the Angels’ facility tomorrow, Ariel Miranda gets the start.

Felix Hernández and Venezuela got handled by Puerto Rico, a mercy rule ending in the seventh inning, and beat Italy 11-10 today despite an injury to Kansas City star catcher Salvador Perez, and Robinson Canó and the Dominican Republic beat the United States 7-5 today.