UPDATED WITH QUOTES, LINEUP, AS THE RAIN STARTS TO FALL
Bit of an overcast afternoon here in Cleveland, with some rain clouds overhead. Never had as many rainouts and rain delays covering a team as I have with the Mariners this season. The rain has just started falling and the tarp is out on the field. Uh-oh.
Anyhow. the team has optioned reliever Chris Jakubauskas to Class AAA, calling up Randy Messenger as a bullpen option. The team has been caught a bit short and needs the arm up here after Miguel Batista tossed two innings last night.
To make room for Messenger on the 40-man roster, minor league pitcher Luis Pena has been released. Pena was a guy picked up off waivers from the Brewers organization to some fanfare down at spring training. But he’d pitched in only three games at Class A rookie level and Class AA.
“I feel bad enough already, leaving them when they’re down two arms,” Jakubauskas said. “But this is really the best thing.”
The Mariners have to wait 10 days before they can recall Jakubauskas. But that’s still quicker than putting him on the 15-day DL.
“I really didn’t want to go on the DL,” he said. “Not for something this minor.”
The Mariners had said that cramping in the back part of Jakubauskas’s shoulder was going to keep him out at least three days. I spoke to Jakubauskas about it last night and he told me he’d be monitoring it and doing strength testing on the arm daily. At the time, he thought it was getting better.
Today, he insisted nothing had changed.
“It felt better today than it did yesterday and yesterday, it felt better than it had the day before,” he said. “I’m going to throw on Monday, and then, hopefully, everything’s OK and we can just keep it strong so I’ll be ready to come back up once I’m eligible.”
The M’s sent Garrett Olson to Class AAA a few days ago and now has two long men. Jakubauskas and Batista, unable or uncertain to go tonight if Doug Fister suddenly turns back into a pumpkin.
Hence, the calling up of Messenger, who looked good early in spring training before falling apart towards the end. I spoke to Messenger, who is already here, moments ago and he told me the competition in camp was something he paid a little too much attention to. All of a sudden, a major league job loomed on his horizon, with other guys struggling, and he began trying to do too much.
“I was trying to be too cute with my breaking ball, too cute with my other pitches,” he said. “It’s just one of those things, trying to impress. I was trying to throw the perfect pitch.”
So far, in Class AAA, he’s posted a 2.25 ERA in 52 outings by getting back to basics.
“I just got consistent again,” he said. “I just attack. I like to attack, keep the defense on its toes as much as I can.”
CF Franklin Gutierrez
2B Jose Lopez
DH Mike Sweeney
1B Russell Branyan
3B Bill Hall
C Kenji Johjima
SS Josh Wilson
LF Michael Saunders
RHP Doug Fister