BY John Hickey 02:19PM 03/16/2011

Pineda impresses in first Northwest look

Rotation candidate tossed a spring training high 4.0 innings.

Mariner pitching prospect Michael Pineda is on the mound Wednesday night in a game to be seen locally on FSN/Root. / Courtesy Tacoma Rainiers

The Seattle Mariners have seen plenty to like from Michael Pineda so far this spring.

Wednesday night, Seattle fans got a chance to make a first judgment on the right-handed powerhouse who seems to be the current favorite to win the job as the MarinersÂ’ fifth starter come April.

In a 5-4, televised loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at the Peoria Sports Complex, Pineda worked 4.0 innings, allowed three runs (two earned) while walking one and striking out three. He threw 63 pitches.

Pineda,  22-year-old from the Dominican Republic, was thrust into the mix as Seattle’ fifth starter after Nate Roberton went down with a sore left elbow.

“I think about it a lot,” Pineda said about making the club out of Spring Training. “I’m working on it.”

In four spring starts, Pineda has a 3.27 ERA (4 ER, 11.0 IP) while striking out eight. RHP Brandon League (1.0), RHP Jamey Wright (1.0) and RHP Chris Ray (1.0) all had scoreless outings.

In the game itself, Rickie Weeks banged out three doubles, Casey McGehee added a double and triple and former Mariner Jeremy Reed hit a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth as the Brewers defeated the Mariners.

Mariners left-fielder Milton Bradley was ejected in third inning by plate umpire Mark Buchanan for arguing a full-count, called third strike.

Centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez went 2-for-3 with a run scored while Chone Figgins, Jack Cust, Ryan Langerhans and Ryan each collected one hit.

The Mariners (10-5-2) had not lost a game since March 6 at San Francisco and are now 7-1-1 over their last 9 games.

The Mariners (10-5-2) continue Cactus League play on Thursday against the Royals in Surprise (6:05 p.m. PT). The game against the Royals will broadcast on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Mariners Radio Network.

Wednesday night’s game was the first Mariner televised contest since the death of Hall of Fame announcer Dave Niehaus.

Twitter: @JHickey3


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