Notes: Woods wide awake in spot start

Notes: Woods is wide awake in spot start

PHOENIX -- Jake Woods woke up on the right side of the bed Sunday morning. He came to camp expecting to throw an inning late in the game against the A's, maybe two if the game went to extras.

The game went to extras, but Woods' day was long over by then. When he arrived at the Mariners' training complex, he found out he was starting the game instead of finishing it.

Start, finish -- it made no difference to Woods. He pitched three clean innings, yielding a single hit and a walk while shutting down the A's for a solid late-spring performance, still in time to make a lasting impression.

"Just go out and compete for a job, and most likely for the bullpen right now," he said of his approach to the outing. "It's nice to show them that I can start if something goes wrong or, knock on wood, if someone gets hurt, I can be a guy they can go to."

Woods is a player on the bubble, waiting to find out if he'll survive the final round of cuts looming on the horizon. So far, he's heard nothing from manager Mike Hargrove or pitching coach Rafael Chaves to illuminate his situation.

"They don't say nothing," Woods said. "That's kind of the joke around here among the young guys. Everything is being kept a secret, except for the guys that have big contracts. For us young guys who don't have security, we go out there compete and hopefully get a spot. Avoid Chavvy in the morning before you go out to stretch."

While Woods can keep his sense of humor about the mounting tension, Hargrove was well aware of the day of reckoning to come, and said he expects the pending decisions will be made in Arizona, though players may not be informed until after the two exhibition games with the Cubs in Las Vegas this weekend.

"I would rather do it before we leave for Vegas," Hargrove said. "These cuts are never easy. These are the ones that are brutal. It's a little easier to deal with, and you can have more in-depth conversations with the people if you do it before you go to Vegas. If you go to Vegas ... it's just not a real caring atmosphere."

Bed head: After Woods' three innings, the Mariners defense showed signs of having woken up on the wrong side of the bed. There was a certain amount of sleep-walking in the infield, with suspect defense letting the A's back in the game and ultimately sending it to extras.

The A's first three runs were all unearned, with a pair of errors in the fourth from third baseman Adrian Beltre and second baseman Jose Lopez, followed by a third error in the fifth from new third baseman Gookie Dawkins and a thinking error in the 10th that allowed Travis Buck to beat out an infield single.

"We swung the bats and made up for our mistakes, but mentally we were absolutely not here today, and that is absolutely unacceptable," Hargrove said. "I know it's Spring Training. We played hard. But two errors in one inning and don't cover first base in the extra inning; that doesn't cut it. We will talk about that. Definitely."

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Game face: Arthur Rhodes got in a game for the first time since March 16. He's been nursing a sore elbow, but showed no signs of trouble Sunday, pitching a scoreless inning while giving up one hit and striking out one. He has pitched six innings of scoreless Cactus League ball this spring.

"I felt real good," Rhodes said of his outing. "I have to do some work on my fastball on the side, but it was good being back out there. I have been around long enough to know how I feel and when I'm ready for the season, and I'm ready to go."

That was good news for Hargrove, who liked what he heard from Rhodes even better than what he saw.

"Rhodes was outstanding," Hargrove said. "I don't know what his velocity was, but he threw strikes and struck out the last guy on a changeup. The big thing about today's outing was not how well he did, but how he felt afterwards, and he felt fine."

Putz on pace: J.J. Putz had a bullpen session Sunday morning, and is ready for game action.

"I let it go with all I have," Putz said after the session. "I feel great."

Putz threw 25 pitches, all fastballs, and will pitch an inning in a Minor League game Tuesday before pitching an inning against the Cubs in Las Vegas on Friday. Assuming there are no setbacks, he'll be on the Opening Day roster, ready to assume his job of closer.

"If something happens Tuesday, we could still backdate the DL, but we don't anticipate that," Hargrove said.

Hot bat: Raul Ibanez hit his Cactus League best fifth home run Sunday, a towering two-run shot to right-center field that broke open a tie game. He raised his spring average to .429 (18-for-42) with a team-high 14 RBIs. He has an eight-game hitting streak going.

Slight strain: Hot-hitting utilityman Willie Bloomquist finally found a way out of the lineup Sunday.

"Bloomquist's got a little bit of an abdominal strain, real minor," Hargrove said before Sunday's game, emphasizing that he shouldn't miss more than two days at the most. "I was going to try to back off him anyway. He's got 66 live at-bats, so with [Ben] Broussard and [Jeremy] Reed, that's tops on the club."

Through Saturday's games, Bloomquist was also tops in the American League with 25 spring hits and nine stolen bases. He is hitting .439 (25-for-57) and has eight multihit games while splitting starts at second base, shortstop, third base, and center field.

On deck: Miguel Bautista takes the hill Monday as the Mariners travel to Surprise, Ariz., for a 1:05 p.m. PT game with the Rangers, who send Jamey Wright to the mound.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.