Haeger closer to earning 5th spot in Dodgers rotation after owning M's

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger moved closer to earning the fifth spot in the Los Angeles Dodgers' rotation, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Haeger gave up just two hits, both singles by Ichiro Suzuki. The right-hander struck out five and walked one.

Haeger has waded through at least a dozen fifth-starter candidates, with his closest competition for the role being left-hander Eric Stults. Both pitchers are out of minor league options.

"[We've] been talking about who we like as the fifth starter over the last four or five days," manager Joe Torre said. "We'll let you know in the next couple of days. We have a good idea. We're trying to see who can fill different kinds of roles."

Haeger has spent time in the majors during each of the last four years, but has never made an opening-day roster. He has pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Padres in addition to the Dodgers.

"I felt myself locked in mentally and that was a good sign," Haeger said. "The [knuckleball] felt good."

Andre Ethier hit his team-best third homer for the Dodgers. Casey Blake had two hits and drove in a run.

Ian Snell pitched six innings for the Mariners, surrendering three runs and four hits. He was able to rebound from a poor outing Monday against the Athletics when he gave up six runs in seven innings.

"[Breaking balls] just haven't been there for me the last couple games," said Snell, who retired 10 consecutive batters after Ethier's homer. "I've been relying on my fastball and changeup, and it's hard to get by with two pitches as a four-pitch pitcher."

Seattle closer David Aardsma, who was hampered by a strained groin early in camp, gave up a hit in one scoreless inning.

"(Aardsma) had better arm angle and more life to his pitches," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "When everything clicks, you start seeing a jump in his velocity. Today, I saw that he had everything in synch."

Game notes
Seattle's Matt Tuiasosopo homered in the ninth. ... The crowd of 15,583 set a Cactus League single-game attendance record, the fifth time this spring alone the record has been topped. ... Mariners RHP Doug Fister will pitch Monday for the first time since taking a line drive off his pitching forearm March 19. Wakamatsu said Friday he expects Fister to be in the rotation to begin the season, with LHP Cliff Lee out indefinitely with a strained abdomen. ... Blake, Ethier and 2B Blake DeWitt are the only Dodgers regulars that will make the team's trip to Las Vegas for a March 31 game against the Reds. ... Dodgers LHP George Sherrill is using video to help correct a mechanical flaw that has led to a 5.06 ERA this spring.