March 17, 1998 in Sports

Johnson Sharp, Man Of Few Words

From Wire Reports
 

Left-hander Randy Johnson worked a solid five innings, allowing only an unearned run, but the Anaheim Angels rallied against reliever Greg McCarthy to beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 Monday.

Dave Hollins hit a two-run homer in the seventh to lift the Angels. Hollins, who also had an RBI single off Johnson in the fifth, hit his first homer of the spring off McCarthy to give the Angels a 4-2 lead.

But the big news was Johnson’s effort. After two sub-par starts, his fourth Cactus League game of the spring was vintage.

“Randy had better velocity,” catcher Dan Wilson said. “He got a couple ground balls when he needed them and a strikeout with a runner at third base.”

“Better velocity, better bite on his breaking ball,” manager Lou Piniella said. “That’s more what you expect from a pitcher like Randy.”

As for Johnson, he was terse in his postgame analysis: “This was more like a regular spring game, at least I could take something positive out of it.”

Camp notes

Battling for a spot on the Mariners’ bench, utilityman Pat Listach continues to struggle in the field. When he dropped a perfect throw from first baseman David Segui, it was Listach’s fifth error of the spring. … Joey Cora and Edgar Martinez each had two of Seattle’s 11 hits, with Martinez, Rob Ducey and Wilson each driving in a run. … Bobby Ayala continued to pitch superbly, working an easy eighth inning. In six appearances, he has allowed a run only once.

Catcher John Marzano began using the catching helmet last season, and this year he’s sporting a new one purchased at no small expense by Ken Griffey Jr. It’s beautifully hand-painted with the Seattle skyline on the front and the names of Marzano’s daughters, Danielle and Dominique, on the back. … The next round of cuts will come Sunday when the Mariners pare from 40 to 28-30 players.

Russ Davis batted .176 in his first 13 spring games and said it has been, without question, “the worst spring of my life.”

He’s healthy and feeling good, he just hasn’t gotten many hits, he said. “I’ve been patient, gotten myself in good hitting counts and about three times I’ve grounded out to the pitcher on checked swings,” he said. “I’m over-anxious.”

Ducey has made the team by doing the little things a spot player has to do - moving runners over, showing speed, playing solid defense. That doesn’t mean he’s enjoying his spring. “You have fun playing, but being on the bubble every spring isn’t easy,” he said. “It’s not fun trying to make the team, it’s work. You enjoy playing, but you’re aware that things may change at any time.”

From Jay Buhner, on why he didn’t attend an open-air concert by country singer George Strait: “He’s a legend, but it was raining and windy and cold. I might sit out in weather like that to duck hunt or to fish - but not to hear somebody sing a little.” … Reliever David Holdridge has been fighting a virus and coughing - so hard, apparently, he bruised his ribs.

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