Talk about advance planning: With the Mariners in Oakland on their first road trip of the season, manager Lloyd McClendon decided to avoid giving Athletics hitters extra looks at his top pitchers. So Hisashi Iwakuma will pitch a simulated game against minor leaguers Thursday instead of facing the A’s that day. Felix Hernandez will pitch a simulated game Sunday against the Dodgers for the same reason.
“I just don’t want them (Iwakuma and Hernandez) facing teams we’re going to play early,” McClendon said. “I don’t like doing that. Any type of edge we can get by not having them face (familiar foes) early is good. They just need to build up innings. I don’t think they’re trying to make the club.”
Iwakuma tossed two perfect innings in his Cactus League debut Saturday, throwing 16 of his 22 pitches for strikes.
The Mariners face the Dodgers in a three-game series in Los Angeles April 13-15.
Felix makes spring debut
Hernandez worked two scoreless innings in his spring debut, and Dustin Ackley went 3-for-3 with an RBI, but the Rockies batted around in the fifth inning en route to a 9-3 win over the Mariners Tuesday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, AZ.
Hernandez faced six batters in two innings, allowing one walk and inducing one double play. He needed 18 pitches to collect the six outs.
Seattle led 2-0 after Ackley notched a two-out RBI single in the third, and Chris Taylor had an RBI groundout in the fourth.
In the fifth, Roenis Elias was touched for a pair of runs, and Dominic Leone (0-1) absorbed most of the damage as the Rockies, aided by a pair of errors, sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs.
The Mariners (4-4) and Rockies play again Wednesday at Peoria Stadium. Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez is scheduled to start for Seattle against Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman.
Cutting the work load
McClendon said this week that he plans to limit second baseman Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager, both All-Stars last year, to 150 or fewer defensive starts in 2015. Cano made 150 last year while Seager made 157.
“Robby (32) is at the point now where he’s not going to play 162 games anymore,” McClendon told The News Tribune. “I’d like to see (Seager) in the 150-range as well.
“Quite frankly, I played (Seager) too much down the stretch, but I had no choice. (Willie Bloomquist) was down.”
The Mariners missed the 2014 playoffs, but they posted a profit of $11.6 million last season, according to figures submitted by the team to the Public Facilities District that oversees Safeco Field’s operations.