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August 10, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Why no Brandon League in last night’s eighth inning? Wedge doesn’t want to push him in multiple-inning saves yet

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Some of you were wondering why there was no Brandon League out there in the eighth inning last night, with the M’s clinging to a one-run lead. After all, other teams do use their closers for multiple inning saves.
So, I asked Mariners manager Eric Wedge the question today. His reply was that League is still new to being a full-time closer and he wants to take things one step at a time.
“It’s a good question,” he said. “I think we’ll probably stay as-is right now just because this is his first full year of closing. This is a guy who has been a multiple-inning guy out of the bullpen his entire career. So, let’s take it in stages. I think that right now — I’m not saying it’s beyond the realm of possibility — but I think right now it’s better to keep him in that ninth-inning role. But I think in the future it’s something where he can be a one-plus guy.”

Wedge added that multiple innings for a closer is “a significant step.”
“For a guy that’s new to closing on a consistent basis, one-plus is a big difference from just getting those last three outs. It’s tough enough to get those last three outs. But to ask him to come in into the middle of a situation in the eighth inning and then to ask him to sit back down and then run through the ninth inning, it’s a significant step.”
Wedge also said the bullpen is “in flux right now” with veteran and young guys and that nobody has really stepped out and grabbed the seventh and eighth-inning roles. He didn’t want to have Gray start the seventh and then need to get six outs, which is why he brought him in later, then had him work through the eighth.
Gray was back out for the ninth, Wedge said, just because there weren’t a whole lot of choices at that stage. Same with bringing in Aaron Laffey. A lefty batter was up in Endy Chaves, there was a runner on first that needed to be held on and the situation required a southpaw. Laffey is the only one the team has in the bullpen.
Jack Wilson was supposed to start at shortstop today but he’s feeling physically fatigued after playing throughout this rather warm weathered road trip. Wilson was on-base three times last night and did quite a bit of running. Wedge could tell he was feeling it late in the game and then saw that he wasn’t physically good today.
So, Wilson is scratched and Luis Rodriguez is in at shortstop.
Kyle Seager will now start at third base.
Lineup at Texas Rangers (8/10/11)
Mariners (49-66)
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) DH
2 Jack Wilson SS
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
20 Mike Carp (L) 1B
30 Miguel Olivo C
21 Franklin Gutierrez CF
33 Casper Wells RF
1 Luis Rodriguez (S) 3B
12 Trayvon Robinson (S) LF
38 Jason Vargas LHP
Rangers (66-51)
5 Ian Kinsler 2B
1 Elvis Andrus SS
32 Josh Hamilton (L) CF
10 Michael Young 3B
17 Nelson Cruz RF
25 Mike Napoli DH
8 Yorvit Torrealba C
18 Mitch Moreland 1B
7 David Murphy (L) LF
45 Derek Holland LHP



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