The Mariners escaped the saguaros of Arizona and the mania of Ichiro’s retirement in Japan to christen their magenta-adorned, renamed T-Mobile Park in chilly Seattle on Monday.
Fortunately for them this wasn’t the official unveiling of their pink stomping grounds – because the Padres stomped all over them and starter Mike Leake to the tune of an 8-0 shutout.
This was just an exhibition sandwiched between their season-opening series in Tokyo last week and their home opener against the reigning World Series champs Thursday when the Red Sox come to town. So the Mariners (2-0) still are undefeated for the season, but they’re certainly saddled with a sour taste with just one spring-training game to go.
“We know these games are going to be challenging,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We just got to keep it going and let the guys get their work in. The Padres obviously threw their A lineup out there and they swung the bats good.”
The Padres turned Leake into their personal piñata in the first inning with Franmil Reyes’ three-run home run and a two-run shot from Austin Hedges. The second homer was one batter after Ryon Healy’s short throw from third base, where he’s replacing injured Kyle Seager, bounced past first baseman Edwin Encarnacion for a two-out error.
The Padres had 11 balls hit at exit velocities higher than 95 mph off Leake, according to MLB’s Statcast.
It seemed like they scorched just about everything Leake threw, with Manuel Margot hitting a third homer off him in the fourth. And this is just a few months after there were reported talks of Leake heading to San Diego in a trade with Jean Segura for Wil Myers that didn’t materialize. Segura, instead, was later traded to Philadelphia.
“Mike Leake left a couple balls up in the first inning and they were on it,” Servais said.
Leake struck out Ian Kinsler on three pitches to start the game, but Eric Hosmer, new Padre Manny Machado, Reyes and Myers followed with four consecutive hits to get the parade started.
Leake finished his spring with a 5.30 ERA over five starts entering his fourth season in Seattle.
MALLEX MAKES DEBUT
This was at least a showcase of new Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith, who was in the lineup for the first time after suffering a right-elbow injury in January during throwing drills in Florida.
He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout and two ground outs as their leadoff hitter, something Servais didn’t want to commit to him doing for the home opener Thursday. Servais did say they’ll likely play Smith another seven innings against the Padres on Tuesday while other starters sit.
More importantly, Smith said he felt no discomfort in his elbow.
“It was fun just to get back in the outfield,” said Smith, who didn’t travel with the team to Tokyo. “It was good to just get to move around and really just get to play with the team.”
Smith said he got about 20 at-bats on the minor-league fields in Peoria, Ariz., the past few weeks.
He was asked if he watched any of his new teammates across time zones in Japan.
“You talking about at 2 in the morning?” Smith laughed. “I caught the end of a few, but I was normally asleep during the games. Dee (Gordon) texted me at 12 in the morning and said something about tonight – and I didn’t know what tonight he was talking about.”
First baseman Daniel Vogelbach returned after being hit by a pitch in his left elbow during the Mariners’ 9-7 season-opening victory over the Athletics last week. … Right-handed pitcher Shawn Armstrong (oblique strain) threw before the game for the first time since heading to the 10-day injured list last week, tossing 25 pitches. … RHPs Gerson Bautista (pectoral) and Anthony Swarzak (shoulder) are both in throwing programs and could return after the opening series this weekend. … Third baseman Kyle Seager was in the Mariners’ clubhouse Monday in street clothes and a cast on his surgically repaired left hand, but Servais said he is still far from resuming any baseball-related activities.