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May 28, 2008 at 5:22 PM

No Morrow in rotation this year

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It sounded nice in New York over the weekend when everyone was making comparisons between Brandon Morrow and Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees. But the Mariners have decided not to work Morrow into the starting rotation by letting him increase his innings as the season progresses. Morrow said he was approached by manager John McLaren during batting practice on Tuesday to talk about that very subject.
“He didn’t think it was going to be a good idea to do it during the season,” Morrow said.
Morrow added that he was disappointed, but completely understands the team feels he’s more valuable to them in a late-inning bullpen role for now. He had just finished telling reporters how much he was looking forward to eventually getting the chance to start when he let slip that it wouldn’t be this season.
“Starting, I feel like I have more contribution,” he said, later explaning that he feels ‘getting a quality start is more important than getting a couple of outs in the seventh and eighth.”
McLaren told reporters afterwards that he hadn’t completely made up his mind. But he was also leaning heavily, he said, towards not transitioning Morrow to a starting role — especially with what he saw on Tuesday night when the pitcher struck out Mike Lowell and Manny Ramirez, then got J.D. Drew to fly out to right after entering with two on and no out in the eighth inning.
Morrow’s fastball hit 99 mph against Ramirez and 98 mph versus Lowell.
McLaren told reporters a short time ago, after Morrow had talked about how he won’t be starting, that his outing last night played heavily into that call.
“We’re still talking and stuff,” he said. “I’m not saying we’ve backed off it. But there’s a lot he has to do to get ready to start. We’ve by no means given up on this season at all. What he can do in that eighth inning like that is special. We just want to get him in that opportunity a lot more here coming up. A lot of times we just use him to get some work in. We’d like to utilize him when the game is on the line.”
So, there you have it. At 15 games under .500 and 12 1/2 behind in the division, the M’s say they still have a shot. They feel it’s too early to work towards the future. I know what many of you think. I think their season is done. They disagree. At least, that’s what they’re saying in public. Hard to sell tickets when you’re waving a white flag on May 28.
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By the way, Richie Sexson is not in the lineup again. Miguel Cairo (pictured below, getting stretched out) is in there, batting second. McLaren likes the energy he brought to the team last night. Jose Lopez and his hot bat have been moved back to the No. 5 spot. It worked well when Sexson was suspended, which is, by the way, something McLaren feels set the slugger back in his hitting.
Maybe it did. But Sexson wasn’t exactly lighting it up before either.
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