March 11, 2009 at 10:17 AM
Josh Fields won’t pitch in Tucson this weekend after all, manager Don Wakamatsu said. “There’s no rush. We re-thought that whole process. He took so much time off, we’re just going to kind of back off and let him get acclimated.”
Wakamatsu said there’s no thought of moving Morrow back to the bullpen, despite his setback. Morrow is sidelined with tightness in his right forearm.
“We want to go down this road as far as we can go,” Wakamatsu said. “There might be a
point. … But right now, we haven’t talked about moving him back by any means. We’ll progress with that and see where it takes us. … We’re not overly concerned with the injury, the stiffness. As of right now, we’re trying to get him ready to be a starter in the season.”
The Mariners are trying to stay away from a closer by committee. Wakamatsu is still hoping that someone emerges from the competition as the clearcut winner.
“It’s still real early on some of these guys,” he said. “They’re going to get six, seven more outings before we have to make a decision. Even on Mark Lowe (who has been struggling), I’ve been impressed with his velocity. You see a lot of power guys up in the zone early. To make a judgment now on someone like that early would not be real smart.”
On bullpen roles outside of closer: “I think I’m farily conventional in that I like a closer, and a fairly established setup man. Beyond that, I’d like some versatility. If I don’t have that left-hander, I’m not opposed to what (Mike) Scioscia did for a number of years in Anaheim. If we have a guy effective against left-handers and right-handers, I’ll go that route.”
Left-hander Tyler Johnson, slowed by shoulder problems this spring, probably won’t be ready to start the season, Wakamatsu said.
Adrian Beltre, coming off shoulder surgery, still isn’t 100 percent.
“I think yesterday he had a couple at-bats where it still feels a little cranky in his shoulder,” Wakamatsu said. “Overall, he’s good. We’re just going to slow him down a little bit, but he feels good.”
A few roster cuts might come Thursday morning, but the first significant cutdown will take place on March 16.
Phillippe Aumont is due back from the World Baseball Classic soon, now that Canada has been eliminated. Though he’s not in major-league camp, Wakamatsu said he would like to use him in a Cactus League game or two.