- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Roenis Elias impressed again in his improbable quest for a spot in Seattle’s rotation, throwing 5 1-3 strong innings for the Mariners in a 4-3 loss Saturday to the Colorado Rockies in a game between split squads.

The 25-year-old Cuban defector was a non-roster invitee. He’s pitched in only 59 games, nothing above Double-A. But injuries have created holes for Seattle, and Elias has shined.

“He certainly has made a statement for himself,” said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who indicated Elias will make one more start before they break camp.

Speaking through an interpreter, Elias said Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano has helped him adjust to pitching to major leaguers.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Elias said. “He’s watching at second base.”

Wilin Rosario’s two-run home run in the fourth was the lone blemish for Elias, who allowed four hits and struck out four. His spring ERA is 2.04.

Brett Anderson labored through six innings for Colorado, giving up 12 hits but only three runs - including Justin Smoak’s solo homer.

“It was probably the worst put-away breaking ball I’ve had in God knows how long,” Anderson said. “But the good part about it was in those situations, I was able to get out of it for the most part and I ended up having a quality start.

“Anytime you give up 12 hits and have tons of baserunners and get out of it with a quality start, I guess I’ll take it.”

Cano went 0 for 4, lowering his average to .500.

The Rockies won it on Jason Pridie’s RBI double off Charlie Furbush in the bottom of the ninth.

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Mariners: Colorado manager Walt Weiss was impressed with Elias.

“First inning, I looked over at one of the coaches and said, ‘This guy has a good arm,’” Weiss said. “He kind of slings it. There’s some finish to his pitches. He’s a good-looking kid.”

Rockies: Weiss said Anderson’s scrappy performance reminded him of an old teammate.

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