With starter Erik Bedard’s return, the Mariners will eventually be forced to decide who must leave the starting rotation. Don Wakamatsu came up with one solution on Tuesday afternoon.
“We put them all in a hat,” he said.
The Mariners have time. Jason Vargas will pitch Wednesday, followed by Brandon Morrow on Friday. Then the Mariners, because of the All-Star break and off days, will not need a fifth starter again until July 25. The Marienrs won’t even have to determine a fourth starter until July 19.
After the trio of Felix Hernandez, a rejuvenated Jarrod Washburn and Bedard, the Mariners have at least four pitchers from which to pick the final two parts of the rotation:
-Morrow, who has been transitioning from reliever to starter and threw his first quality start Sunday in Boston.
-Vargas, who has a 4.42 ERA in 10 starts, with the Mariners 6-4 in those starts.
-Lefthander Garrett Olson, who has a 5.00 ERA in eight starts and is coming off a quality start in Boston.
–Ryan Rowland-Smith, whose stint in triple-A Tacoma after triceps tendinitis has lasted longer than originally planned. Rowland-Smith got his first win in more than a month last Thursday and starts tonight (Tuesday) for Tacoma.
After Mike Sweeney went to the disabled list Tuesday with back spasms, the Mariners are carrying 13 pitchers. Wakamatsu said the team is talking about whether to make a move for another position player until Sweeney returns, likely on July 21, so that move might shed some light on the Mariners’ plans for the rotation.
-With Sweeney on the disabled list, Ken Griffey Jr. will be the full-time designated hitter — even against lefties — though Wakamatsu said in one game before the game, the Mariners plan to have Ichiro DH.
-Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt worked out today and will likely play a few games at triple-A Tacoma before joining the team. Betancourt took ground balls at second today and Wakamatsu said Betancourt could play a minor-league game at second.
-Endy Chavez will have surgery Thursday. His timetable for returning is nine to 12 months.