Carraway gets valuable experience in spring start

PEORIA, Ariz. -- This wasn't the way Andrew Carraway would have drawn up his first Cactus League start, but the Mariners right-hander says he learned a lot in a rough two-inning outing in Seattle's 11-7 loss to the White Sox on Sunday.

Carraway allowed five runs on six hits in the first inning before settling in for a 1-2-3 second as manager Eric Wedge gave the 26-year-old a start in his first Major League camp.

"I'm really fortunate just to be in this clubhouse and get the opportunity to be part of this," said the former Virginia standout, who split last season between Triple-A and Double-A. "I was really excited to get the start and definitely didn't want it to go that way. I didn't quite feel like myself out there, but it's good to get that one out of the way."

Carraway, a control pitcher who relies on keeping hitters off balance, finally got his own feet steadied with the quick second inning when he retired the top of the White Sox lineup in order.

"I was able to get a little more comfortable," he said. "This game is so hard, you've got to go after guys with everything you've got. And when you're a little off or a little uncomfortable, it's just tougher. Give the White Sox guys credit. They were hitting the ball hard in the first inning."

Carraway said the biggest thing he came away with was a pointed reminder that he needs to keep the ball down to be effective.

"Speaking with some older guys like [Jeremy] Bonderman, I've been realizing more and more just during this Spring Training how important that is," he said. "So to get out there and be a little elevated against hitters of that caliber and have those results, it's just going to pound it into my head even more that you've got to make those pitches at the knees.

"You can make that pitch almost the exact same way, but just a couple inches up, and it's the difference between a ground-ball double play or maybe a line drive or home run. It makes a big difference."

Wedge said it was valuable experience for the youngster.

"You never know what to expect when you get a young man out there making his first start," said Wedge. "But he settled down in that second inning and threw the ball real well. He'd earned that start and that's what we told him. He'll be much more comfortable as he continues to move forward."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.