UPDATE: 3:52 p.m.: We’re told it should be about a 4:45 p.m. start time once the rain clears.
Yes, it’s pouring rain by the gallon here as of 20 minutes ago. I’d say tonight’s game is potentially in trouble.
Just got the word from manager Don Wakamatsu that Shawn Kelley could be brought back to the major league team a lot sooner than expected. Try this Saturday against the Red Sox in Boston. Kelley is due to throw an inning for Class AAA Tacoma tomorrow, then could be activated by the team in time for the weekend series.
“It’s a little bit expedited, but we’ll see how it goes,” Wakamatsu said.
Why do this? So that the bullpen will have backup. That’s because the Mariners are prepared to allow Erik Bedard to start in Boston, even if it means he goes only four innings.
That’s right. Bedard is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today and the team hopes he can get up to around 55 or 60 pitches. If that’s the case, they figure he could throw 60 pitches in a start and get through roughly four frames at Fenway Park.
Why do this?
Well, why not?
Frankly, four innings of Bedard can be better than five innings of Garrett Olson. You bring in the Chris Jakubauskas “piggyback” rescue after that and possibly Kelley before getting around to the late-inning arms if the M’s have a lead.
Yes, the Mariners had wanted to build Bedard’s arm back up to go the minimum five or six innings. But this is a critical test coming up against New York and Boston and then back at home again, concluding with four games against the Texas Rangers. After that, there’s a lot of time to get Bedard and everyone else some rest during the All-Star Break.
And so, the Mariners would rather be getting through these games with their best starters out there — even if one has to go for only four innings. It was good enough for Brandon Morrow, the reasoning goes, so why not Bedard?
If he pitches on Saturday, he could potentially be ready to go five innings or more against the Rangers later in the week. Don’t forget, as the rotation currently sits, Felix Hernandez is not slotted to pitch against Texas.
Yes, that is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo talking with Yankees manager Joe Girardi before batting practice was cancelled due to rain. Presumably, Girardi is not p[als with Terrell Owens.
— Anyhow, back to the Mariners, Adrian Beltre underwent successful surgery today in California, where bone spurs were removed from his left shoulder. There was no additional damage to the rotator cuff, though the bursa sack was inflamed. That inflammation should subside now that the spurs are gone.
Wakamatsu said this could lead to an accelerated return to action for Beltre.
“We’re hoping,” he said. “We’re still looking six to eight weeks, but maybe, if everything goes well, we can bring him up here a little bit quicker than that.”
— Yuniesky Betancourt is feeling much better these days and Wakamatsu said he could possibly be reactivated by next week’s homestand.
— One of the readers emailed to ask about Carlos Silva. He’s scheduled to start playing catch again after the All-Star break and could resume pitching in game action come August in some type of minor league rehab stint. But trust me, he’s a long way from getting back to the majors. The team wants his arm strengthened as much as possible before he starts seriously throwing again. So, no. There is zero chance of using him as trade bait.
— On to more roster news, Ryan Langerhans is here, as we told you and he’s been activated on to the 25-man roster, with Beltre hitting the DL to clear room. Jamie Burke has also cleared waivers and been outrighted to Class AAA.
Langerhans is going to see plenty of outfield duty against righthanded pitching, sort of in the role that Endy Chavez — who will have his surgery on July 9, by the way — was doing before tearing up his knee. We told you earlier that Ken Griffey Jr. was starting in left field tonight. With all of this wet grass, though, I would not be shocked to see a lineup change if the game does get played. Griffey’s knees should not be running around on this grass.
Langerhans said that his defense is something he’s always taken pride in and he understands why a pitching-and-defense-oriented club like Seattle would take a chance on him.
“It kind of came out of the blue,” Langerhans said. “I’m very excited about it. I’m excited to be going to a team that’s right in the thick of things.”
Langerhans had been playing in Class AAA and had a series in Pawtucket, R.I. when informed of the deal, So, it was a short trip here to New York. Only problem was, he had nothing that resembled major league road attire (a jacket and tie). So, he spent yesterday shopping. If you’re in need of finer clothing, New York is a pretty good place to have to solve the problem.
Langerhans won’t be limited to playing left field.
“I’ve been trying to work hard at first (base) the last year, year and a half,” he said. “I feel like I bring some versatility. I can play the three outfield positions.”
So far, the Mariners are only talking about using him in the outfield.
But the infield could get shaken up a bit as things move forward. Seattle is going with Chris Woodward at third base for now and further on into July until the team figures out what to do next — namely, whether to pull off a trade. That could take the remainder of this road trip and the next homestand to ascertain.
For now, the team is looking to go with Woodward and possibly Jose Lopez at third. Lopez took some grounders at the position over the weekend and Wakamatsu wants him to do more of that before being inserted at the hot corner in a game.
Russell Branyan has been ruled out as a third base option. The team does not want to mess with the success he’s been having by switching positions or — for now — batting order spots on him.
Woodward has gotten more familliar with playing third as he evolved from an everyday shortstop to a utility infielder the past five years.
“I’ve learned a lot over the years,” hye said. “As a player, I think you’ve got to do that. I’ve grown a lot as a player defensively and put a lot of time in defensively. I have a better mindset of attacking the position than I did when I was younger. I wish I would have known a lot of the things I know now when I was younger. It would have helped me as a player.”
Woodward makes it a habit to pick the brains of the third basemen he meets along the way as to how to field the position. He did a lot of talking with Beltre in spring training.
He said the two of them both like to do the same things in workouts, like taking a lot of hard-hit grounders at third to get a feel for them.
“I tend to come in on a lot more balls at third,” he said. “At shortstop, you can use your feet a lot more to get yourself a better hop. At third, a lot of times you can’t do that. The balls aren’t hit as fast, so you’ve got to use your hands.”