First of all, here are the Sunday lineups. They were posted late today because the Mariners were waiting to see if Ken Griffey Jr.’s sore knee was feeling good enough to play today. It wasn’t. And, no, it’s not a case of Zack Greinke-itis.
“He still feels a little in there,” Wakamatsu said, adding that he’s “pretty positive” Griffey will return to the lineup Tuesday against the Angels. With lefty Joe Saunders going tomorrow for the Angels, Mike Sweeney will be the DH today and Monday.
So here’s the lineups:
David DeJesus LF
Willie Bloomquist RF
Billy Butler 1B
Brayan Pena DH
Alberto Callaspo 2B
Mark Teahen 3B
Miguel Olivo C
Mitch Maier CF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Zack Greinke RHP (12-8, 2.43)
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Josh Wilson 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Mike Sweeney DH
Bill Hall RF
Jack Hannahan 1B
Kenji Johjima C
Jack Wilson SS
Michael Saunders LF
Ryan Rowland Smith LHP (2-1, 4.05)
A couple of other injury updates: Russ Branyan, placed on the 15-day DL yesterday, won’t travel with the team to Oakland, L.A and Texas as he tries to get the herniated disc in his back to heal.
“We still have some high hopes he’s going to be back in a couple of weeks,” Wakamatsu said.
In the meantime, he said that he is mulling over how he will handle first base. Jack Hannahan is playing there for now, but Wakamatsu said mentioned that he could use someone from the minors (Mike Carp, Bryan LaHair and Chris Shelton are all options) when the rosters expand Tuesday. He also mentioned Bill Hall and even Jose Lopez. I asked him if the team was still mulling over a position switch for Lopez.
“That’s tough,” he said. “The guy’s having a career year. To make position change…we have to look at all the different options. We kick around lot of things.”
Asked the weirdest thing they’re kicking around, Wakamatsu said it was using Josh Wilson as a pitcher. He’s already pitched mop-up stints this season for the Padres and Diamondbacks, and no position player has ever pitched for three teams in one season.
“It’s still in the back of my mind,” Wakamatsu said.
On to Ichiro and his ongoing calf injury, which has now caused him to miss six games and counting on this homestand (the M’s are 5-1).
“We’re shooting for tomorrow,” Wakamatsu said. “The discussion we had, he’s going to let me know if he feels like once he’s in there, he’s going to be in there, and then we don’t have a whole lot of limitations.”
Ian Snell, hit on his right wrist by a line drive yesterday, is fine. X-rays were negative, and there wasn’t much swelling (although you could see the stitch marks from the ball Mitch Maier hit. Snell joked that he was going to ask Maier to autograph his wrist). Wakamatsu and Snell both said he should be able to make his next scheduled start.
“He’s real lucky,” Wakamatsu said. “Look at some of the balls that have hit pitchers this year already. A couple have been hospitalized. As soon as it happens, you just cringe. I thought for sure it broke something, so we’re awfully lucky.”
Snell credited his strong bones.
“That’s why you’ve got to drink milk. Milk does a body good,” he said.
Sean White is likely sidelined today with some shoulder tenderness. The Mariners brought in Garrett Olson from Tacoma just as a precaution, but they don’t expect to need to activate him before Tuesday.
The team is mulling over what to do with Brandon Morrow, who pitched five strong innings (four hits, no runs) for Tacoma yesterday before being removed because of stiffness in his arm. Wakamatsu didn’t have any details on the stiffness. The manager wasn’t sure when Morrow would join Seattle’s rotation.
“We’re still discussing that. Obviously, we’d have to take someone out of the rotation, and that’s tough right now when guys are pitching well. We’ll definitely see him in September, we just don’t know when right now.”
One of the options they’re discussing is a six-man rotation, which would include Morrow, Felix Hernandez, Snell, Luke French, Doug Fister and Ryan-Rowland Smith. But that’s problematic.
“We talked about it. You also have Felix in there, too, where you want him pitching every five days. There’s some juggling you have to do.”
The positives of a five-man rotation, he said, “No. 1, you still get to see guys you’re making decisions on for next year. No. 2, some of the younger guys, their innings are getting up there.Maybe it would save some wear and tear on those guys.
“The problem, you have every Monday off. You’re going go be looking at seven days in between starts. Is that really fair to a pitcher to say he’s going to be sharp after seven days?”
We’ll see how this plays out.