BY John Hickey 06:03PM 03/11/2011

Mariner kids are mostly all right against Indians

Pineda struggled with his control Friday, but he survived in start against Cleveland in Goodyear, AZ., that ended in a 5-5 tie.

Michael Pineda fought through control issues Friday against Cleveland. / File photo courtesy Tacoma Rainiers

It was kids’ day for the Mariners Friday at Goodyear with Seattle leaving most of its veterans at home while taking on the Indians.

And while the kids didn’t extend the Seattle winning streak to five, they didn’t lose, either, settling for a 10-inning, 5-all tie against Cleveland.

Seattle, now 4-0-1 in its last five games, got a so-so performance from starting pitcher Michael Pineda, who is trying to make the Mariner starting rotation to begin the season after having just a dozen starts at Triple-A Tacoma last year.

Pineda gave up four hits, one walk and two runs in three innings, one of which was a home run to lead off the third inning by former Seattle shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Pineda straightened up after that, however, and got the next three outs to finish the third and finish his day.

“You like to see how young players react,’’ manager Eric Wedge told the Seattle media after the game. “He has the heart of an athlete, and for a big guy he has a pretty good feel for his delivery.’’

Pineda, who is known for his control, didn’t have much of it Friday. He threw strikes on just over half of his approximately 50 pitches, mainly missing with his fastball.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Pineda was pitching on short rest. He threw in relief Monday after Felix Hernandez started against the A’s. In order to split the two men up, Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis had Pineda throw just two innings that time so he could come back on Friday. Hernandez will pitch in a minor league intrasquad game early in the day rather than face Oakland for the second time in as many starts, knowing that he’ll get the opening day assignment against the A’s.

And Blake Beavan, one of the players Seattle picked up in the Cliff Lee deal last July, will get the start against the A’s in Peoria, AZ.

Pineda wasn’t along in the kids’ day festivities. Alex Liddi, who had hit grand slams both Wednesday and Thursday, had to settle for a sharp ground ball past third for a single in one of his two at-bats. And second baseman Dustin Ackley, the team’s first-round pick two years ago, singled and walked and scored twice.

“Ackley is a young man who is going to get better as a hitter,’’ Wedge said. “He needs to get out there at second base and play. You can’t replicate what happens out there.’’

Another kid, outfielder Johermyn Chavez, went 1-for-2 in five plate trips. He was hit by a pitch three other times.

Wedge, the Cleveland manager until two years ago, said it wasn’t a matter of intent on the Indians’ part.

“It was just one of those fluke days,’’ Wedge said. “The last one was a breaking ball and he got clipped. A couple other balls ran up and in on him. It was just one of those days. It’s one of the reasons you love the game. You just never know what the hell is going to happen out there.’’

NOTES: Lefty Nate Robertson pitched two innings and was lifted because of a pitch count issue. He had taken a line drive off his ankle, but he didn’t get hurt seriously enough to come out of the game. … Matt Tuiasosopo had a single and a double and was the only player with two hits for Seattle, which had 10 hits overall. … Lefty James Paxton, the fourth-round pick who signed with Seattle last week, after a long holdout, threw his first official bullpen session for the club in the morning. … Reliever Chris Ray will test his sore calf Saturday, presumably in the same intrasquad game that will feature Felix Hernandez. … Former Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre, now in a new role working as a liaison between big league general managers and Commissioner Bud Selig, was in the Seattle clubhouse early in the day and met with Wedge for about 30 minutes. … The Mariners haven’t trimmed their roster yet, but indications are they will do so in the next 24-36 hours, as soon as Saturday morning and at the latest by Monday morning.

Twitter: @JHickey3


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