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Mariners Feeling Bit Better As Pitchers Report No Pain

Rehabilitation day at the training camp of the Seattle Mariners didn’t have a healing look - not with the M’s losing 7-1 to the San Francisco Giants.

But with pitchers Jeff Fassero and Tony Fossas getting through their first significant outings of the spring pain free, even manager Lou Piniella was willing to pronounce the afternoon a success.

Fassero did give up six hits and three runs in a two-inning start - his first since the M’s charity game opener against San Diego back on Feb. 26. Stiffness in his left elbow after a subsequent workout had sidelined him since. X-rays turned up a bone chip that, if problems persist, could require surgery.

But on Friday, Fassero faced 11 batters and threw nine of them first-pitch strikes - getting in trouble on occasion, Piniella explained, because “he was only using two pitches and that cuts down on his arsenal considerably.”

“I feel fine,” Fassero said. “I’ve still got three more starts and side work to work on technical things, and as long as there’s no swelling in the elbow, I shouldn’t have any trouble getting ready.”

Elbow inflammation had also kept Fossas inactive since Feb. 27. The left-handed bullpen specialist, who was signed away from St. Louis over the winter, got in a three-up, three-down inning Friday - facing, by happy coincidence, three left-handed batters.

And Bill Swift continued his bid for the No. 5 starter job with four so-so innings - giving up six hits, most when his sinker refused to sink.

Marzy dotes

John Marzano, battling Rick Wilkins for the backup catcher spot, was frustrated when Giants pitchers walked him in both plate appearances.

“I must be a lot more feared than I thought I was,” said Marzano, who is hitting .438 this spring. “You’d think they’d give the ninth guy in the lineup one pitch he could hit.”


Jay Buhner returned to camp after flying to Seattle for the funeral of Lissy Moore, a young cystic fibrosis victim the outfielder had befriended during the course of his charity work with the Seattle chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Think you’ve had it tough lately? Mariners pitcher Brent Hinchliffe this spring sprained an ankle, discovered during his physical that he needed laser surgery on his eye, contracted food poisoning and had an uncle die in a car accident. Then two days ago, he was sent down to Class AA Orlando. “You can’t go through your whole career just breezing through,” he said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo