I finally got hold of Jack Zduriencik on his cell phone. I missed him the first time around, and the team recently landed in Vegas, apparently with the same bumpy landing I had. The wind is really howling right now at Cashman Field.
He confirmed that doctors believe Ichiro will be ready to come back on April 15, and said that they haven’t decided yet how they will fill his roster spot. However, Zduriencik said he doesn’t expect to go outside the organization. For now, Ichiro will remain in Peoria, where he can be monitored by team personnel. They really want him to take it easy.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
“It happened so quickly. He mentioned on the day we played the Brewers (Monday) he wasn’t feeling real well. We even thought about scratching him that day, but he had two at-bats and came out of the game. He told Don he was a little weak and dizzy. So we got him checked, and found out what he had.
“I think we’re fortunate in the fact we caught it, and he’s going to miss just eight games. We’re certainly going to miss him. We wish we had him. But if it happened another time, or it was prolonged, who knows how long he’d miss. This is at the beginning, so we can make the DL retroactive (to March 31). If there’s any silver lining, it’s that he’s not going to be gone a lengthy time. That’s what it seems, anyway.
“I think he’ll be back on the 15th. He’s feeling better now. He wants to play so bad. He didn’t want to go through this (the DL). He wanted to fight through. But we have to make these decisions based on what’s best for the organization — and best for him. Quite frankly, we need to get him healthy so the club will be at full strength as we move forward.
“The doctor recommended he needed rest and medication. The best thing to do is slow him down. They think he’ll come back (to strength) pretty quickly. The fact we nipped it in the bud is a good thing. Sure, we’ll miss him. He wants to play. We’ll be happy to have him back as soon as he’s ready. We’re confident that will be the second game of the homestand (April 15 against the Angels).
“Ichiro’s a tough guy to slow down. He wants to do his thing right now. The doctor told him he can do a little bit. Eventually, his strength will come back, but he doesn’t need to exert himself. There’s people there (in Peoria) that can monitor him. His desire is to play and help the team and be in the lineup. We have to pull back the reins.
“He’ll stay in Peoria for awhile. We’ll have to see how the week goes. He’ll be in contact with our medical staff.
“We’ll make that decision (on filling his roster spot) probably Saturday after the ballgame. Don will look at some things this weekend. We talked a little already, but there’s not a sense of urgency. We don’t need to finalize our roster until Sunday, and we have so many extra players with us. It works on our behalf.
“I don’t think we’ll go outside the organization. It will be within. He’s going to be out such a short period of time. Unless something extraordinary happens, I don’t think we will (go outside). We have a lot of possibilities. We can take someone from the 40-man roster, or put someone on the 40-man. We have spots available. At the end of the day, we’ll see what works best for us.
(NOTE: I WILL TRY TO TALK TO WAKAMATSU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, BUT HE HASN’T ARRIVED AT THE BALLPARK YET).