Fighting for roster spot, Wells goes deep
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Casper Wells has his work cut out this spring finding a spot in the Mariners' outfield, but the 28-year-old made a nice early statement with a two-run blast deep over the left-field fence in the ninth inning of Friday's 9-3 loss to the Padres in their Cactus League opener.
Wells is fighting for a roster spot after Seattle added Michael Morse, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay to the outfield mix over the offseason, but Wells provided one of the few offensive highlights as the Mariners recorded just five hits against five San Diego hurlers.
"Casper really hit that ball," said manager Eric Wedge. "He has a lot of raw power. When he hits the ball, he hits it. His swing looks a little shorter. I felt he made some adjustments at the end of last year, and early on, he's definitely brought that into the spring."
Wells' shot came off Padres right-hander Brandon Kloess, a 28-year-old who split time last year between Double-A and Triple-A.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder Wells had 10 home runs last year in 285 at-bats while hitting .228. He went 1-for-2 on Friday, striking out in his first at-bat.
The Mariners fell behind early after a rough outing for starter Hector Noesi, who gave up six runs (four earned) on four hits and four walks in just two-thirds of an inning.
"He was up a little bit," Wedge said. "First time out, the ball was coming out of this hand good, but he was just cutting it off a little as the inning wore on. When you do that, you don't have the same life. He was just a little bit up today, but he said he felt good, so hopefully he can work off that and come back and be a little stronger next time."