As we take a look above at one of the newest Mariners, outfielder Casper Wells, just a reminder, we’ll have Geoff Baker Live! tonight at 6:10 p.m. PT from FX McRory’s restaurant.
Tom Wilhelmsen is back in the big leagues tonight, courtesy of Seattle’s need for extra bullpen help with Charlie Furbush expected to have a brief starting assignment tomorrow afternoon.
Wilhelmsen was in Memphis, but caught a Delta flight straight to SeaTac this morning after being informed of the news after a Class AA game last night.
You will remember that Wilhelmsen broke camp with the club this spring, barely a year after being signed out of independant league ball in spring training of 2010. He’s been away from affiliated baseball for six years prior to that, having gotten as far as Class A with Milwaukee in 2003.
So, yeah, he’s always pretty excited to be here.
“It was the second most-exciting plane flight of my life,” he said.
Besides developing a bit of a deadpan sense of humor in AA — he also joked about taking “the light rail” here for today — Wilhelmsen has been honing a third pitch, a changeup, during his minor league stint as a starter.
Wilhelmsen has enjoyed the starting role in the minors. Don’t forget, it’s primarily what he did last year in working his way up through the ranks.
“I felt more in place as far as the routine goes,” he said. “I knew I needed to work on a third pitch, a changeup, in part. I also needed to be more consistent with my fastball around the zone.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge won’t give a pitch count for Furbush tomorrow, but it’s clear he won’t last all that long given his previous innings worked the past month or so. The M’s won’t say it, but one reason Furbush is going instead of Anthony Vazquez from AAA is so they can keep a spot open on the 40-man roster to add Wily Mo Pena at some point soon.
Wedge also gave the official, team-approved explanation for why they’re using Furbush instead of a minor leaguer not on the 40-man.
“It was just a good opportuinty to get him in the rotation,” Wedge said. “Because, as we’ve talked about before, we want to take a look at him for more than just an inning here and a couple of innings there. To give him the opportunity to start — which he’s done for his entire minor league career — that’s the best way for us to look at him and the best way for him to get comfortable pitching in a role he’s accustomed to.”
In other news, Chone Figgins is out tonight, still nursing that strained right hip flexor. The team is taking a closer look at it and we’ll know more at some point tonight. I would not be surprised to see Figgins go on the DL at this stage. Guys who have underperformed have been put there for a whole lot lesser hurt.
Hey, look who the Mariners face tonight. The guy who wasn’t healthy enough to get traded to the Boston Red Sox. Mariners fans who like the two young outfielders added via the Erik Bedard trade on Sunday should give Rich Harden a standing ovation when he takes the mound tonight.
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
20 Mike Carp (L) DH
4 Adam Kennedy (L) 3B
30 Miguel Olivo C
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
33 Casper Wells LF
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
34 Felix Hernandez RHP
19 Jemile Weeks (S) 2B
4 Coco Crisp (S) CF
55 Hideki Matsui (L) LF
16 Josh Willingham DH
15 Ryan Sweeney (L) RF
28 Conor Jackson 1B
8 Kurt Suzuki C
36 Eric Sogard (L) SS
29 Scott Sizemore 3B
18 Rich Harden RHP