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Vasquez's good start highlights Mariners' winter action

SEATTLE -- While not many Mariners prospects have begun play in Winter League action, left-hander Anthony Vasquez took advantage of an early start to post an excellent outing for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan League.

Vasquez missed much of this past regular season while recovering from a ruptured blood vessel in his brain, but the 27-year-old held Aragua to one hit with one walk and three strikeouts in six scoreless innings in his VWL debut on Sunday.

Vasquez started seven games for the Mariners at the end of the 2011 season, then sat out most of 2012 with a shoulder injury and was hospitalized in Arizona following brain surgery during his recovery process. He came back to go 2-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 15 starts between Class A Clinton and Double-A Jackson last year and now is getting extra work this winter in Venezuela.

Right-handed reliever Logan Bawcom is also pitching for Lara and is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in his first two appearances, allowing three hits and two runs (one earned) with a home run and a walk in two innings. Bawcom, a 24-year-old acquired from the Dodgers in the Brandon League trade in July 2012, posted a 2.91 ERA with 21 saves in 51 games for Triple-A Tacoma this past season.

Moises Hernandez, the older brother of Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, got off to a rough start with Lara as he allowed four runs on three hits and a walk without recording an out in his lone outing so far. Hernandez, 29, was 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in 23 games (two starts) for Jackson this year.

The only Mariners position player with any at-bats so far in the Venezuelan League is shortstop Gabriel Noriega, who is hitting .167 (2-for-12) with a double and a run scored in four games for Lara. Noriega, 23, hit .256 for Jackson last season.

The other offseason action so far has been in the Arizona Fall League, where seven Mariners prospects are playing for the Peoria Javelinas. Outfielder Stefen Romero, the club's No. 7 prospect, has hit .231 (3-for-13) with three runs, shortstop Chris Taylor (No. 5 prospect) is hitting .250 (2-for-8) and third baseman Patrick Kivlehan (No. 16) is batting .182 (2-for-11).

Brandon Maurer, who pitched 22 games with 14 starts for the Mariners this past year, made his AFL debut on Friday and allowed two runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings at Salt River. Left-hander Lyle Hunter, a late replacement on the team for Danny Hultzen, is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in five innings over two outings.

Right-handed reliever Dominic Leone has allowed just one hit with no walks and four strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings over two appearances, with one save. Fellow reliever Carson Smith (No. 13) threw one perfect inning in his only outing so far for the Javelinas.

Seattle Mariners