The Mariners are taking batting practice as we speak. Could have used some last night. You can see Carlos Silva, in the photo above, catching a pop-up flipped to him by Jose Lopez. Silva feels good today after yesterday’s bullpen session and will indeed throw a simulated game on Wednesday, If all goes well after that, he’ll do an abbreviated minor league rehab assignment, then rejoin the club as a bullpen arm.
Another player is also now unlikely to be playing for the Mariners until next month. That would be Adrian Beltre, who is still not recovering as quickly as first expected from a testicle injury suffered when hit by a ground ball.
“I think the swelling’s going down a little slower than we thought,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “It’s improving, but slowly.”
Beltre is eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 28, but now, the manager admitted that’s highly unlikely.
“He was really questioning at the time, the thought of going on the DL,” Wakamatsu said. “Then, it became where he couldn’t fly and now it’s going slower than we initially thought.”
Wakamatsu remains highly impressed by Doug Fister, who has pitched himself into the mix for next season. Fister has only had three starts. I asked Wakamatsu how many starts he needs to truly evaluate whether a pitcher is for real or not.
“You almost have to look at about eight to 10 starts before you get a true feel for a guy,” Wakamatsu said. “With me, it’s more that…his stuff’s not going to go up. So, what you look at is, is he able to retain or build on that confidence level? And if he can stay there and pitch like he can, then I think this guy’s got a chance to be very successful.”
Wakamatsu went on to say: “The rest is, if you get knocked around one outing, can you handle it mentally? Or, more importantly, do you need to change? That’s probably the hardest thing for a guy like that, is that ‘OK, I threw this game against the Yankees or the White Sox and that was a pretty good lineup, so how do I get better?’
“Well, you don’t really need to get a whole lot better than what you are. And that’s the downfall sometimes, when they want to change a whole lot of what’s been working or what’s made them successful.”
Wakamatsu feels Fister has fallen victim to that type of process. “He’ll be the first one to tell you, he was overthinking,” he said of Fister’s early struggles at times last night.
“It was interesting between his start against New York and up to now,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s exactly what I was talking about, where he was searching to add more and more and get better and better. Sometimes you’ve just got to say ‘That’s good enough’ and stay right there.”
1B Russell Branyan
2B Jose Lopez
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Jack Hannahan
SS Josh Wilson
LF Ryan Langerhans
C Rob Johnson
RHP Felix Hernandez
CF Grady Sizemore
2B Jamey Carroll
RF Shin Soo-Choo
3B Jhonny Peralta
DH Travis Hafner
SS Luis Valbuena
LF Matt LaPorta
C Wyatt Toregas
1B Andy Marte
RHP Fausto Carmona
Hey, look, Wyatt Toregas is back on patrol. Bad news for the M’s…maybe. We’ll see if sherriff Branyan can come up with some hits with guys in scoring position.