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Moore putting rookie struggles in rearview mirror

Righty looks sharp in spring debut, throws two scoreless innings
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Andrew Moore was rushed to the big leagues last year as a 23-year-old rookie when the Mariners' rotation was hit hard by injuries. But the former Oregon State standout learned from some rocky times and got off to a nice start on the new campaign Friday with two hitless innings in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Padres in the Cactus League opener.

Moore and Ariel Miranda, who could find themselves competing for the Mariners' fifth rotation spot if Erasmo Ramirez isn't ready for the regular season, both pitched a pair of innings in the chilly spring debut at Peoria Stadium.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Andrew Moore was rushed to the big leagues last year as a 23-year-old rookie when the Mariners' rotation was hit hard by injuries. But the former Oregon State standout learned from some rocky times and got off to a nice start on the new campaign Friday with two hitless innings in Seattle's 3-2 win over the Padres in the Cactus League opener.

Moore and Ariel Miranda, who could find themselves competing for the Mariners' fifth rotation spot if Erasmo Ramirez isn't ready for the regular season, both pitched a pair of innings in the chilly spring debut at Peoria Stadium.

Mariners' Spring Training information

Miranda, working on improving his slider to help keep hitters off his fastball this season, allowed two hits and a run in two innings before Moore fired two scoreless innings with just a walk and three strikeouts.

Moore says he learned a lot from his rookie season, when he went 1-5 with a 5.34 ERA in 11 outings, and has worked hard on making his release point more consistent, getting back to his bread-and-butter changeup and focusing on staying ahead of hitters so they can't just sit on his fastball.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"That was a tough stretch for me," Moore said. "Going through that and seeing I could fight through it and having some success in September was nice. I'll hopefully build on that. At the time, that was tough. It was good making some adjustments and seeing positive results from it, so hopefully, I keep that going."

Moore also learned enough to know he can't get caught up now in the roster battle after Ramirez strained the lat muscle in his right side in the first week of camp.

"There are a lot of good arms here," Moore said. "I'm just trying to lock in and work on my stuff and try to be ready for Day 1. Whatever they decide. It just comes down to opportunity at that point. Whoever is pitching well is going to get a chance to stay up. It's just making the most when you do get the opportunity."

Top of the order excels

Though he didn't get any defensive action in his three-inning debut in center field, new leadoff hitter Dee Gordon wasted no time making an impression as he doubled to open the game and eventually scored on a throwing error in Seattle's two-run first.

Video: SEA@SD: Gordan reaches home on errant throw

Kyle Seager followed with an RBI double in a 2-for-2 day.

"The top of the lineup coming out swinging the bats like they did was awesome to see," manager Scott Servais said. "Dee Gordon is going to be fun watching all year, and Seager was right on top of some balls early on."

Special caps resonate for Motter

The Mariners -- like all Major League teams -- wore special hats on Friday commemorating last week's 17 shooting victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla.

Seattle utility infielder Taylor Motter grew up just 30 minutes from Parkland and his Palm Beach Gardens high school team played at Stoneman Douglas in a regional tournament his junior season. He said wearing the Stoneman Douglas cap carried some extra significance.

Video: Baseball pays tribute to Stoneman Douglas victims

"It means more than even just the school," Motter said. "It means more of what is going on in the world right now and what ways can we control this craziness of what's going on. I feel terrible for the families and friends and everybody that lost people down there. With it being so close to home, it kind of gets to you a little more. It shouldn't happen like that."

The caps worn by the MLB players will be autographed and then auctioned to benefit the official victims fund via the Broward Education Foundation.

Worth noting

Nelson Cruz was back with the Mariners on Friday after being sent home the day before due to illness. But Cruz likely won't get into Cactus League play for a few days, along with Robinson Cano, as Servais said he'll ease the two veterans into the long spring slowly.

Mitch Haniger will also be held back from game action for a few days due to a minor ailment, and fellow outfielder Guillermo Heredia is also being brought along cautiously as he returns from October shoulder surgery.

Felix Hernandez threw his first live batting practice Friday and is on target to make his Cactus League debut Monday against the Cubs at Mesa.

• Six Mariners pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts in Friday's win, with Dan Altavilla closing things out by striking out the side in order in the ninth.

Up next

Mike Leake gets the start for Seattle in the club's 12:10 p.m. PT Cactus League game Saturday against the White Sox at Peoria Stadium, with Chase De Jong also scheduled to pitch two innings. Casey Lawrence, Nick Rumbelow and non-roster invitees Johendi Jiminian and Mike Morin are also expected to pitch. The game can be seen on MLB.TV.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

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