Jon Garland today continued what is an increasingly strong bid to make the Mariners rotation. The M’s lost, 3-2, but Garland sailed through three innings. He gave up two hits and a run to the Dodgers in Glendale, walking one. Most importantly, the surgically repaired shoulder that kept him out all last season keeps getting better.

“I can definitely tell the arm’s getting stronger,’’ Garland said after his third stint of the spring. “In between innings, nothing’s tightening up. Good signs all around.”

Garland said he feels tightness the day after his starts, but nothing much different than he used to experience in his prime. What’s different is that at age 33, he is battling for a job for the first time in a decade.

“It’s a lot different,’’ he said. “In the back of your mind, you know you’re fighting for a spot. You’re trying to make the team, so you’re going out there with every intention of trying to put up as many zeroes and make as many pitches as you can.

“At the same time, you still want to try to work on some pitches and maybe throw a pitch in certain counts you normally wouldn’t do. It’s a little weird, but it’s good. It’s good to get the juices flowing and back in the swing of things.”