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May 14, 2009 at 10:36 AM

Pre-game chatter, 5-14

Don Wakamatsu’s exact words on Erik Bedard’s scheduled start Saturday was “tentative scratch,” but he made it seem very unlikely that Bedard will face the Red Sox on that day. Bedard tweaked his hamstring in the first inning against Minnesota last Monday, pitched through it, but still felt tightness Wednesday when he tested it.
“When he pitched through it, everything was warm and fuzzy because of the adrenalin,” Wakamatsu said. “It was there, and we just kind of rested it. He tested it yesterday, and felt it doesn’t warrant a DL time. We can either miss a start, or push him back until he’s healthy, and juggle the rotation a bit. ”
Garrett Olson is the likely fill-in, he said, but that might change once the Mariners see that Olson is 0-4 with a 7.76 ERA in six career starts (while with Baltimore) against the Red Sox.
Here’s Wakamatsu on giving Ronny Cedeno another start at shortstop: “I’ll probably give Jose Lopez a day off (Friday) and put Ronny over there, and put Yuni back at shortstop. I like what I saw yesterday (from Cedeno). He made the great play on the pop fly, laid down the bunt.
“Again, I had the discussion with Yuni (yesterday). We talked a lot about on-base percentage, and at some point, that’s got to change. For us to go forward, those are things we have to improve on. And not just to single him out. There are other cases we’re constantly working on.
The thing yesterday I really liked for one of the first times is how much we did use the opposite field.”

Wakamatsu said he doesn’t plan to flip-flop Brandon Morrow and David Aardsma at closer despite Morrow’s struggles since coming off the DL.
“You look at Morrow, and he saved six in a row. Rick (Adair) and I were talking — the guy roughly has 12 innings since the start of spring training. To chastize him or say this guy can’t do it, I think, is really unfair at this point. I like his stuff. The issue is command. I think that’s going to come with time. He’s proven in the past his stuff is awfully good, and plenty good enough to be a closer. It’s a matter of getting him out there and keeping him healthy and letting him continue to develop.
“In a perfect world, I like Aardsma in the eighth and Morrow in the ninth. I’d like to end up that way, with both those guys pitching well. We’ve seen glimpses of how powerful they both can be in that position. It’s just a matter of consistency…. I guess the answer to that question is, I want to develop those guys in the situation they should be in.”
And I asked him if he considered pinch-hitting Mike Sweeney for Ken Griffey against the left-hander in the 10th inning yesterday. It was first and third, tie game. Griffey hit into a double-play. His answer:
“Sweeney was unvailable with his back. I wanted to give him another day. Plus, Junior hit a home run in Minnesota. There’s all different scenarios there. Junior’s going to be in there, and I’ve done that with Mike. I haven’t pinch-hit Mike with Grif in those situations, either.
“As we go forward, we’ll see. Grif’s starting to swing the bat better. I didn’t think it was the time to pinch-hit for him there, for a lot of different reasons. But obviously, I thought about it.”
I asked him if he felt Griffey’s stature warranted that he not be pinch-hit for.
“No, the thing with Grif is, how much time do you give him to say this guy is still an impact guy? I don’t have the answer. I’ve been through a couple of different players of almost that stature — Sammy (Sosa in Texas two years ago) and Frank (Thomas) in Oakland last year. You see some things out of Grif where he’s swinging the bat better. You’ve got to weigh all those things and make that decision. As we go deeper in the season, we’ll have more clarity. I hope we do.
“But in that situation, in a sense, the miscue was (Jose) Lopez not swinging at the 3-0 pitch (before drawing a walk prior to Griffey’s at-bat). I talked to him about it. He said the first two spiked him in the dirt, in the back of his mind, he didn’t think he was going to give him anything to hit, He was more in a take mode than a hit mode. But that was a perfect pitch to drive in a run right there and not worry about that. Right down the middle. It’s a game within a game.”
Someone asked yesterday about Roy Corcoran, who is eligible to come off the DL today. He’s still resting his strained neck — he’s not with the team — and Wakamatsu said he’ll need a rehab assignment, most likely, before being activated. Speaking of which, Ryan Rowland-Smith is flying to Arizona today to pitch in a game situation.



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