A couple of the Astros new division rivals started their exhibition schedules Friday in Arizona. The Texas Rangers played to a 5-5 tie against Kansas City and the Seattle Mariners were blown out by the Padres.
Rangers kiss their sister
Ian Kinsler (Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Derek Holland got the start and went three innings for the Rangers, allowing one run on six hits. Alexi Ogando followed Holland to the mound and struggled a bit with his control. Ogando walked two and hit a batter. He was charged with three earned runs in 1 & 1/3 innings of work.
On offense, Nelson Cruz launched a 2-run homer in the fourth. Non-roster infielder Yangervis Solarte added a 2-run blast with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to secure the tie. Ian Kinsler was in his familiar leadoff spot and played second base. There had been some talk of Kinsler changing positions and being moved to the middle of the order to accommodate top prospect Jurickson Profar. That idea may have been put on hold to give Profar more time to develop his game. Profar, who turned 20 earlier this week, was 0 for 2 in Friday’s game and committed an error at shortstop.
Mariners hammered by Padres 9-3
Hector Noesi got the start for the Mariners in Peoria and failed to make it through the first inning. The 26-year old righty issued four walks and coughed up a grand slam to Padres prospect Jed Gyorko. Noesi will need to bounce back quickly to have any chance to crack the M’s starting rotation. Oliver Perez pitched 1 &1/3 innings in relief of Noesi and appears to have a hold on a bullpen spot.
The Mariners, who finished last in the division in 2012, are putting an emphasis on offense this season. The fences at Safeco Field have been moved in and the team acquired a few veteran bats over the winter to bolster the middle of their order. Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez each went o for 2 on Friday while Mike Morse was 1 for 3.