Moseley pitches 5 scoreless innings to help Angels beat Mariners 8-2

<I>Associated Press</I><BR>Seattle Mariners' Brad Wilkerson can't hold onto a double hit by Los Angeles Angels' Jeff Mathis in the sixth inning of a spring baseball game Sunday in Tempe, Ariz.

TEMPE, Ariz. - Dustin Moseley pitched five scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Angels got home runs from Gary Matthews Jr. and Juan Rivera in an 8-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners in major league exhibition baseball action Saturday.

Moseley lowered his spring training ERA to 3.00 after four starts and five appearances. He's one of a handful of pitchers in the hunt to replace injured ace John Lackey. The spot is expected to go to Moseley or young right-hander Nick Adenhart.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that if Moseley emerges as the best choice, he'll be the fifth starter, no matter how setup man Scot Shields is feeling.

Shields is experiencing right forearm discomfort and Scioscia said the reliever could remain in Arizona for extended spring training when the team breaks camp. Moseley pitched out of the Angels' bullpen in 38 of 46 appearances last year.

Moseley was happy to hear that he's still considered a starter even with the news about Shields.

"Being a starter, for most of my career until last year, to hear that I could fit into the rotation especially with the talent over here, with the young guys they have coming up, obviously it's a confidence booster," Moseley said. "At the same time, we'll see how it plays out."

Moseley figures to get one more spring start.

"(Moseley's) right on schedule," Scioscia said. "It was the same thing we saw in his last start - as the game went on he got stronger. He got great results. We made some plays defensively but he made some pitches. It was a good combination."

The Angels' starting pitching has been tested with the injuries to Lackey and Kelvim Escobar this spring, leaving the door open for one starting spot.

"We're happy that the depth has emerged," Scioscia said. "To have the decision to make when you lose Escobar and Lackey - out of a lot of major league rotations, you might have to look real hard. We're going to be able to have some depth and we're hoping it will re-establish itself because right now we need the depth to carry us."

Jeff Mathis had three hits for Los Angeles.

Seattle starter Cha Seung Baek, a candidate for a spot in the bullpen, allowed four runs and seven hits in three innings in his roughest outing of the spring. He entered 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings over five outings.

Relief pitcher R.A. Dickey allowed six hits and three earned runs in three innings.

"We're getting the ball out over the plate and we gave up 16 hits," manager John McLaren said. "That's kind of where we are right now."

Raul Ibanez had three hits for the Mariners.

Mariners RHP gives up 10 runs against Triple-A Nashville: Carlos Silva not only had to deal with an awkwardly sloped pitching mound in his final Arizona start, but he also had to contend with 86-degree heat. It wasn't a good combination for the Mariners' right-hander.

Silva became the latest member of Seattle's starting rotation to have his problems, giving up six runs and 10 hits in five innings against Triple-A Nashville on Sunday.

That's not an encouraging sign for a team hopeful of making a serious run at the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West.

The Mariners and Angels play during the second week of the season so Seattle chose to have Silva stay back from the team's exhibition game in Tempe on Sunday, instead letting him work on his new cut fastball pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers' minor league squad.

Silva said he made progress with the cutter, but wasn't too concerned about his other results.

With sweat dripping from his forehead while he finished his post-game workout, the 246-pound Silva pointed to a number of things that factored in his performance, from the mound at the minor league field he pitched at to the dry Arizona heat.

"The weather here is weird, it's so dry," Silva said. "Unbelievable. I tried to (lick my fingers) and nothing. My fingers were so dry."

Silva also said a tight strike zone made it difficult to pitch low.

"That ump should have been in big leagues," Silva said. "In the big leagues, you have to throw pitches low because if you throw them up they disappear. For me, it sucked because that's my strength and my ball is going to go there."

Silva made 107 pitches, his most of the spring, struck out seven and walked two. He gave up three runs in the first two innings, then retired the side in the third before struggling in his last two innings.

"It's tough for him to pitch down there," Seattle pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said. "That infield is rock hard down there and (the ball) really gets through. I looked real closely at the groundballs that were hit that went through for base hits, they weren't really scalded or anything."

Silva will make one final tune-up start likely next Friday in Las Vegas against the Chicago Cubs.

DOG DAYS OF SPRING: With a week to go before the start of the regular season, the Mariners have begun the process of closing down shop in Arizona. Boxes filled with players' belongings are scattered throughout the team's clubhouse, and the front office has been busy packing up as well.

While that might bring a sense of excitement, it's also made it tough on Seattle's coaching staff to find motivation to get the players through the final days of spring training.

"This is not a good time of spring I don't think," manager John McLaren said Sunday. "We kind of run into thinking ahead to the season and hit a wall a little bit. This is a real challenge, this time of year, for myself and this staff. That's why we try to do different drills just to keep the guys' interest going because this is the time of year that you lose them a little bit.

"We're doing the best we can. I'm sure other teams are going through the same thing. No excuses, just the way it is."

SHORT HOPS: First baseman Richie Sexson has received a cortisone injection in his right shoulder after being diagnosed with bursitis. Sexson, who hit a career-low .205 in 2007, was held out of Sunday's game against the Angels, but is expected back in the lineup on Monday. According to the Mariners, Sexson first complained about pain in his shoulder after sleeping on it wrong. "It's nothing serious," McLaren said. "It's something that's been nagging him. It's not an issue at all. He slept on it wrong."

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