June 13, 2009 at 4:16 PM
Storm a’brewing, Johnson’s sad news, Rowland-Smith update and other pre-game notes
UPDATE 5:11: The rain has stopped, the tarp is coming off, and the fans are back in their seats. They just announced a 6:50 p.m. (5:50 Seattle time) start time for the first pitch.
They just announced that the game is under an official rain delay and won’t start on time. It’s not raining now, but the report is that a “rain cell” (otherwise known as a storm, I believe) is approaching. There’s dark, ominous clouds over head, so I believe it. There’s no estimation of the likely start time, but they do think we’ll play tonight. Eventually.
To repeat what I reported earlier: Rob Johnson was placed on bereavement leave, and reliever Roy Corcoran was activated. Johnson’s mother-in-law died in a car accident last night in Texas. Manager Don Wakamatsu said he has no inkling yet how long Johnson will be out. He can be on the bereavement list for three to seven days by MLB rules.
Johnson is flying to Houston, as is his wife, Kristan, who was in Seattle with their infant son, Lane.
“We just wanted to get him there as soon as possible,” Wakamatsu said of what he called the “devastating news” that awaited Johnson when he arrived at the ballpark.
Corcoran is available to pitch tonight, and with Brandon Morrow limited to 60 pitches, he might have to. Chris Jakubauskas is likely to be the first man out of the pen, followed by Corcoran. Miguel Batista may also be available for an inning.
“We have some bullpen pieces,” Wakamatsu said. “A lot of the sacrifice yesterday was to try to give us coverage today. Even with Corcoran coming, we knew we had to try to manage that a little bit.
The Mariners are still having reservations about activating Ryan Rowland-Smith after his six-inning start last night in Tacoma, in which he threw 91 pitches and gave up two earned runs.
“It was an improvement,” Wakamatsu said. “But I’d say at this point it will still be (Garrett) Olson to pitch in that spot again in San Diego (Wednesday). We have some options. Some of that will depend on what happens today with Morrow.”
Wakamatsu said Rowland-Smith’s command was still not where they would like.
“The report last night is that his changeup was not that strong,” he said. “That’s something Vargas and Olson had success with. It’s important for a lefty to have a plus changeup. it’s an equaliziing pitch to a right-hander. Those are things we’re continuing to look at.”
Wakamatsu had encouraging reports on both Erik Bedard, scratched from tonight’s start with shoulder inflammation, and Jarrod Washburn, who had a stiff back in Friday’s outing.
“Even the last couple of days, he’s been getting better,” Wakamatsu said of Bedard. “That’s why we said slight, but we felt missing a start would rejuvenate him a little. He’s fine.”
And on Washburn: “It’s stiff, but I don’t think it’s anything long term. He’ll have an extra day (with Monday’s off-day). I expect him to be 100 percent.”
Kenji Johjima (broken toe) will join the team in San Diego and probably be activated sometime during the next homestand, but they seem to be leaning toward having him catch a game or two in Tacoma before that happens.
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