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Garland shows his worth to Mariners in loss

Veteran pitcher allows two runs in six innings

PEORIA, Ariz. – Jon Garland went his deepest yet in a Cactus League game as he and the Mariners prepare to discuss his future.

Garland is tying to make the team as a non-roster invitee this spring and has an out clause in his deal that he can trigger as early as Friday if he chooses. The Mariners had wanted to see some improvement from Garland on Thursday night and he showed just that with six innings of two-run ball against the Chicago Cubs.

Several teams are said to have interest in Garland, 33, as he works back from shoulder surgery that sidelined him since the 2011 season. He gave up a pair of solo home runs to Alfonso Soriano and opposing pitcher Jeff Samardzija, but otherwise kept the ball down over his 70-pitch effort.

“I think I’ve shown them everything I can,” Garland said, adding he expects the team’s answer today as to whether he’ll make the rotation or not. “Now the decision’s on them.”

Garland struck out three batters, walked just one and consistently generated the ground balls he was looking for after being roughed up by The Netherlands in an exhibition game last week.

One of the pitchers competing with Garland for a rotation spot, Erasmo Ramirez, was rocked in a relief appearance. Ramirez replaced Garland in the seventh and gave up four straight hits – one of them an Alberto Gonzalez double off the left field wall – and two runs that tied the score.

He got out of that inning with no further damage, but then yielded a two-run homer in the eighth to Brad Nelson.