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April 23, 2007 at 3:05 PM

Felix to DL

The Mariners made the no-brainer move of putting Felix Hernandez on the 15-day DL moments ago, meaning they won’t have to send anyone out to the minors to make room for Cha-Seung Baek to start tonight’s game. Baek arrived in Texas last night from Tacoma and joined his teammates here before the pre-game stretch.
Hernandez will be eligible to come off the DL on May 4.
He played catch here today for about eight minutes from a distance of 75 feet. But the Mariners weren’t going to start him next weekend and likely wouldn’t gain more than a couple of days by keeping him off the DL. This move also enables the team to keep their current stable of pitchers here. Seattle’s starting rotation is in a shambles and relievers could be a hot commodity in coming days for this club.
Spoke to Jeff Weaver at length. He doesn’t think he had a problem “putting guys away” in 0-2 counts. He kept insisting that he’s not a strikeout pitcher and that it’s his job to get ground balls — which he did at times, with some of them finding holes.
That may be. Trouble is, Weaver needs to get those grounders earlier in counts. If he keeps throwing 68 pitches through three innings, he’ll have trouble getting even five frames in. It wasn’t his strikeouts, it was the fact he kept getting balls fouled off or taken for balls before they were finally put in-play.
The team agrees and will work with Weaver on a strategy that involves creating more deception for hitters. They’re keeping it vague for now, not wanting to spell out how he’s going to fool them. The idea is to get the hitters to swing at the sinker and put it in-play much earlier on.
Not sure whether Kenji Johjima is going to start tonight. He told me he feels good enough, but he isn’t sure whether he’ll be allowed to play. I saw Jamie Burke and Baek engaged in a long conversation moments ago. Maybe that’s a hint.

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