SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Hitting the stretch drive to earning a job on Seattle's pitching staff, left-hander Luke French had what could be considered both a typical and an atypical Spring Training outing Wednesday night against Colorado. It was out of the ordinary because it came under the lights of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and in front of a sellout crowd of 12,261, conditions French liked because "it made it feel like it will be in the regular season." And his three-inning start was also quintessentially preseason, because he gave up five runs, yet came off the mound pleased.
"There were some hard hit balls, but also some balls on the ground that got through," said French, who in eight prior Cactus League innings had allowed only one run. "I felt I threw the ball well, even though I had that one rough inning [a five-run third]." He was most pleased by again having kept the ball in the park. In 11 innings this spring, he hasn't allowed a home run -- not insignificant for a guy who has surrendered a total of 24 homers in 155 Major League innings. "That's something I've been working on this spring," French acknowledged. "I'm focusing on trying to keep the ball down, giving me a better chance of getting it hit on the ground." Also noteworthy is French's strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 9-2, compared to 79-59 in his big-league time. The 25-year-old, acquired from Detroit in the July 31, 2009 deal of Jarrod Washburn, is still in the running for a spot at the back-end of the rotation, or barring that, a bullpen role.