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Gallardo, Paxton pleased with outings

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- James Paxton and Yovani Gallardo, two key components of the Mariners' rotation this season, both had a chance to pitch on Saturday in Seattle's 4-3 victory over the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and the results were encouraging.

After giving up four runs in one inning in his Mariners debut, the veteran Gallardo looked much sharper with three scoreless frames and just one hit allowed in his final appearance before heading to the World Baseball Classic. He'll pitch the tournament opener for Mexico on Thursday against Italy in Jalisco, Mexico.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- James Paxton and Yovani Gallardo, two key components of the Mariners' rotation this season, both had a chance to pitch on Saturday in Seattle's 4-3 victory over the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and the results were encouraging.

After giving up four runs in one inning in his Mariners debut, the veteran Gallardo looked much sharper with three scoreless frames and just one hit allowed in his final appearance before heading to the World Baseball Classic. He'll pitch the tournament opener for Mexico on Thursday against Italy in Jalisco, Mexico.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

And Paxton, being brought along slower since he's not pitching in the Classic, made his spring debut with two relief innings. The big lefty allowed two runs on a homer by Ian Desmond in the fourth before throwing a perfect fifth.

"It felt good to get back on the mound again facing hitters. It had been a while," said Paxton, who threw 40 pitches. "I'll definitely be ready for three innings next time. It felt a little bit off there. My timing wasn't very good. But that will come. I'll go back to work and get ready for the next one."

Video: SEA@COL: Paxton strikes out Story to end the 4th

Paxton said it was a little awkward pitching out of the bullpen without his normal warmup routine, but he'll move into the normal rotation on Thursday when he starts against the Cubs in Mesa. Saturday's outing was a solid first step in what figures to be a long haul.

"I just wanted to get out there and feel healthy, and I did, which is great," Paxton said. "Kind of get the ball rolling a little bit, have a place to start from. I felt fine. My timing was off a little, but that will come in these next starts here. You kind of ramp it up as we go."

Gallardo was clearly more in command in his second spring outing, striking out three with no walks and just a second-inning double by Mark Reynolds marring his day.

Video: SEA@COL: Gallardo fans three over three scoreless

"I was really happy with the way Gallardo threw. That's kind of what we expected," manager Scott Servais said. "He got in a good rhythm today, locating with the fastball and got some balls even up in the zone where he wanted to.

"Paxton was really good, too. He made one mistake with a slider that he paid for. But it was nice to see those two guys out there, looking comfortable with all their pitches working. It was really nice to see."

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

Mexico, Seattle Mariners, Yovani Gallardo, James Paxton