BY John Hickey 04:38PM 02/27/2011

Peguero gives M’s a glimpse of future

Rookie outfielder’s big afternoon sets up Josh Bard for the game-winning hit as Mariners down Padres 13-12 in 10 innings.

Erik Bedard started Sunday and gave Mariners hope his shoulder is sound / Otto Greule Jr., Getty Images

PEORIA, AZ – The future was, at least for the day, now as Carlos Peguero, who played last year in Double-A helped rally the Mariners to a 10-inning, 13-12 win over San Diego in the first Cactus League game of the season Sunday.

Peguero, an outfielder who might return to West Tennessee, but who is equally likely to wind up at Triple-A Tacoma, hit a two-out, two-run homer to deep right in the bottom of the ninth inning, then fired a missile to the plate to throw out Padres’ base runner Mike Baxter, who was trying to score from second base on a single in the top of the 10th.

“That was a real nice 15 minutes there for Peguero,’’ manager Eric Wedge said, “with throwing that guy out and the home run. He had a real good at-bat.’’

So did veteran catcher Josh Bard, whose line-drive single over the second baseman on a 3-2 pitch with two out in the bottom of the 10th brought the winning run home.

“In a game like this you’re able to get a few guys in there to see some at-bats,’’ Wedge said.

The same was true for the pitchers. For the most part Seattle hurlers didn’t fare all that well after starter Erik Bedard threw a nine-pitch first inning, striking out two. The first five relievers all gave up at least one run, although Yusmeiro Petit and Chris Smith were able to keep the Padres at bay in the ninth and 10th, although Smith needed the help provided by Peguero’s throw.

Bedard’s performance was encouraging as he pitched in a spring game for the first time since 2009. He’s had three surgeries (one elbow, two shoulder) in the last three years. Seattle insiders don’t want to say it on the record, but they’d like Bedard to earn a spot in the rotation to give, along with Felix Hernandez, a more veteran presence on what will be a very young team. They had to be encouraged by what they saw Sunday in Bedard’s economy of pitches – nine in all, eight of them strikes.

“I was a little nervous,’’ Bedard said after coming off the field. “I was excited because it had been so long. It was good to feel my feet on the mound again.’’

Bedard’s afternoon lasted all of nine pitches, eight of them strikes. He struck out Will Venable swinging and Everth Cabrera looking before Jorge Cantu grounded out to end the inning.

And while he was nervous about getting back on the mound, it wasn’t like last summer, when he tested his shoulder during two games in the Arizona Summer League and once at Triple-A Tacoma. Then he was coming back from surgery to repair a torn labrum and an inflamed bursa.

“I was worried coming back from that,’’ he said. “This time, I knew I was going to get stronger after the surgery.’’

NOTES: Franklin Gutierrez was held out of Sunday’s game and he won’t play Monday against the Padres, either, because of his stomach pain. The earliest he’s likely to play is Tuesday. … Early in the day, outfield candidate Jody Gerut announced he was retiring. The 33-year-old outfielder said he couldn’t find the same passion as in past years and couldn’t bring himself to play without it. “I can no longer in good conscience play the game in a manner that reflects the positive example for the younger generation of baseball players,’’ Gerut said. “Physically I’m fine. But mentally my reasons for wanting to be in uniform have become so thin and narrow that I refuse to disrespect the game that has provided so generously for my family by playing it in a halfhearted way.’’ … The Mariners announced the signing of nine players to contracts leaving only one, pitcher David Pauley, unsigned. Those signing included pitchers Dan Cortes, Luke French, Shawn Kelley and Garrett Olson, catcher Adam Moore, first baseman Mike Carp and outfielders Greg Halman and Michael Saunders. Pauley has until Wednesday to agree to terms or he will have his contract renewed by the club. …

John Hickey is a Senior MLB Writer for AOL FanHouse (

Twitter: @JHickey3


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