Efficient outing by Miranda impresses Mariners

Efficient outing by Miranda impresses Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Cuban pitcher Ariel Miranda relies on an interpreter in his interviews with reporters, but the 28-year-old didn't need to wait for the translation when asked Saturday if he was the manager, would he pencil himself in as a starter or reliever.

"Starter," Miranda said with a smile, before the query could be put to Spanish.

The wiry southpaw certainly made his initial case for that role with two quick scoreless innings to open Seattle's 13-3 victory over the Padres in the Cactus League opener. Miranda needed just 22 pitches, allowing a lone single in the second.

"I thought he was really crisp," manager Scott Servais said. "He knows he's in there competing for a spot and it's good to see guys come out of the chute and get off on a good start."

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Miranda went 5-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 11 games last year after being acquired from the Orioles on July 31, but comes to camp this year as the sixth starter in a five-man rotation race and will likely opens the season in the bullpen if everyone stays healthy.

"I've always liked starting," Miranda said. "If you're the starting pitcher, you're controlling 70 percent of the game. Obviously, my preference is to start, but I'll do whatever they want me to do. My job is just to prepare myself physical and mentally. Whatever role they put me in, I'm going to do the job."

HEREDIA COMES OUT HOT

Outfielder Guillermo Heredia, another Cuban connection for the Mariners, also started well with a three-hit day that included two doubles and three RBIs after replacing Leonys Martin in center field in the fifth.

Heredia signed with Seattle last spring and hit .250 in 92 at-bats in the final two months after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma.

"Totally different guy," Servais said. "You think about where he was coming from [last year], just showing up in this camp from Cuba, having never spent a day in the United States.

"This was a really good day for him. He's made some adjustments with his swing. To his credit, he went right to the Fall League after the season was over and spent some time with [Minor League hitting coordinator] Brant Brown to shorten up his swing a little. It's nice to see guys get results right away. Often times it doesn't happen, but good for him."

WORTH NOTING

• Rookie first baseman Daniel Vogelbach singled twice and D.J. Peterson, the club's first-round Draft pick in 2013, had a pair of hits with a double after taking over at that position in the late innings.

• Servais liked the showing of his bullpen, including sharp outings by veteran Casey Fien, rookie lefty James Pazos and hard-throwing right-hander Shae Simmons as the Mariners didn't walk a batter.

• As promised, the Mariners came out running as Jarrod Dyson, Shawn O'Malley and Heredia each stole a base. Dyson walked, stole second and scored on Heredia's single in the fifth for the go-ahead run.

"That's what we've talked about," Servais said. "Finding a way to get on base with the speed we've got. We were pretty aggressive on the bases and we'll continue to do so. We'll get guys comfortable out there. It was a good day. A really good day."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.