PEORIA, Ariz. — Robinson Cano didn’t want to wait. One pitch was good enough to get his Seattle Mariners career started.
“I don’t want to go out there and take a pitch. I want to see how I feel,” Cano said. “Maybe from now on I’ll take a pitch.”
Cano lined a single into center field on the first pitch he saw in a Seattle uniform, part of a two-run first inning that sent new manager Lloyd McClendon and the Mariners over the San Diego Padres 7-1 on Thursday in a Cactus League opener. Cano drew the loudest ovation of the day when he was introduced, then got his hit against Eric Stults. The All-Star left the Yankees in the offseason and signed a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Mariners.
Cano played three innings. He walked on four pitches in the third before being lifted for a pinch runner. He had two assists playing at second base.
“It feels good and I know my swing is there. From now on I have to be patient,” Cano said.
Cano’s one-out single in the first put runners on the corners. Logan Morrison scored Kyle Seager with a sacrifice fly and Cano raced home when Justin Smoak doubled into the right-center field gap. Cano and Smoak spent time on a practice field earlier this week working on Smoak’s swing.
“That was a beautiful swing,” Cano said, adding that if the switch-hitting Smoak keeps his hand inside while batting right-hander, “you will see the difference this season.”
Seattle added another run in the second when Dustin Ackley led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Mike Zunino’s sacrifice fly. Seattle added three more runs in the sixth and another in the seventh, helped along by four San Diego errors.
“That was a tough inning for us there but overall we saw some good things,” San Diego manager Bud Black said.
Mariners: Erasmo Ramirez gave up two hits and struck out one in two innings. Ramirez seems to be forgotten in the race for the final spots in Seattle’s rotation.
He made a strong start to his spring, getting five of his six outs via ground balls. Both of the hits Ramirez allowed were ground balls and both just singles. Ramirez said he purposely wanted to use all his pitches in his first outing, but with the focus on trying to keep the ball down in the strike zone.
“Everything I’ve got I threw it today,” Ramirez said. “I think a couple didn’t quite hit the spot in the strike zone but I tried to use all that I got and show everybody I’m going to use everything.”
Padres: Stults was not as sharp as Ramirez. Black said he thought all the runs Seattle scored came on pitches that were elevated, but he said Stults got his work in and called Donn Roach the pitching standout after giving up one hit in two innings.
Seattle seems optimistic about the health of right-hander Taijuan Walker coming off two straight days of throwing long toss on flat ground. McClendon said Thursday morning the hope was to have Walker throw a bullpen session in the next few days. Walker reported to spring training with soreness in his throwing shoulder and has been held back early in camp.
Another possible rotation option, right-hander Brandon Maurer, threw a bullpen on Thursday after being slowed by a sore back.
A five-minute tribute was shown on the stadium video board shortly before the first pitch honoring late San Diego broadcaster Jerry Coleman, who died in January at the age of 89. The video tribute was followed by a moment of silence. There is also a star with the initials “JC” now underneath the Padres broadcast booth at the Peoria Sports Complex.