PEORIA, Ariz. -- Ichiro Suzuki is getting a head start on another Gold Glove.
The right fielder made an outstanding catch during the second inning of the Seattle Mariners' 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.With one out and a runner on third, Jeff Mathis hit one of many soaring drives off struggling Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith. Suzuki sprinted with his back to the plate, then jumped to make a tumbling grab on the warning track of the ball hit directly over his head."I've never caught a ball like that before, so it will stay in my memory," the nine-time Gold Glove outfielder said through an interpreter. "Usually, it's from the right or left. That one was from straight from the top. So that was one of my most impressive catches."Mathis has 20 career homers over five seasons, so Suzuki was in shallow right field before the drive. He also had to deal with a whitish-gray sky that camouflaged the ball.As Suzuki landed on the dirt on both knees, he gathered the ball basket-style with his glove. He then secured it into his torso as he tumbled over close to the wall.First base umpire Scott Barry ran into right field. He looked to be in disbelief as he raised a hesitant "out" sign with his arm.The fans also were stunned. They didn't know whether to cheer or gasp, so they did both."I don't know that I've seen a catch like that, over his head," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "There's over-the-shoulder. Then there's jumping, diving, over-the-shoulder."Angels manager Mike Scioscia was still shaking his head two hours after the play. He, too, didn't care that it happened during spring training."Oh, that was incredible -- any time," Scioscia said.Suzuki also surprised Howie Kendrick by doubling him off second base with a laser-like throw after catching a line drive in the sixth inning.Angels right-hander Ervin Santana was scratched from the start with elbow inflammation. A team spokesman said Santana is expected to be sidelined for an exhibition start or two, but the club believes he will be ready for the start of the season.Seattle's rotation, a presumed strength, is in flux.Cliff Lee said he felt some pain while throwing on flat ground in the morning. The left-hander, who has been hampered by a strained abdominal muscle, could begin the season on the disabled list. Erik Bedard's season may not begin until June following left shoulder surgery.Promising Rowland-Smith is expected to help. But the inconsistent 27-year-old allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. He has allowed 20 hits and 10 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings this spring, for a 7.71 ERA.Seattle scored three times in the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. Ken Griffey Jr. hit a tying RBI double, and Franklin Gutierrez followed with a two-run double.
Seattle's Jose Lopez hit a two-run homer off RHP Scot Shields in the third. Lopez is moving to third base to replace for departed free agent Adrian Beltre. Former Angels star Chone Figgins will play second. ... Griffey is batting .167 this spring.