There’s good news on Brendan Ryan today: turns out he isn’t hurt. Now, the bad news. He’s essentially been benched for tonight’s game and it has nothing to do with any lingering effects from that stiff neck.
Nope. Mariners manager Eric Wedge made that abundantly clear in his pre-game session with reporters, who naturally were all curious as to why Ryan is sitting out in favor of Munenori Kawasaki.
“As you guys know, sometimes you need to watch a game instead of play,” Wedge said. “And I’d say this is one of those days for Mr. Ryan.”
So, I asked Wedge, why now? Why not two or three games ago?
“When I talk about certain things that need to happen this year — and there are conversations that have been had — and there’s a level of accountability and a level of responsibility that I feel everybody has,” Wedge replied. “It’s no more and no less than that. I’m not going to dive into details on it, but I’ll leave it at that.”
So, just to be clear, I asked, this isn’t about Ryan’s missed throw on the back-end of a double play attempt last night?
“No,” he said. “It’s not just about that.”
Someone else asked Wedge whether he had to have a conversation about it with Ryan, or whether the message was delivered via the sitting out part.
“I think it’s inferred,” Wedge replied, with a long, drawn-out roll of the r’s.
So, safe to say somebody’s not happy with Ryan. Wedge did repeat that Ryan remains his starting shortstop and will be back in the lineup tomorrow night. As to what sparked this, it could just be in regards to his overall play — particularly his focus.
Ryan defensively has lapsed at times. He made a similar poor throw in an earlier game on another attempted double-play and the club won’t be happy to see a repeat. I’m sure the team wasn’t thrilled to see him miss the fourth game of the year with that stiff neck — said to have been caused by Ryan sleeping on it wrong. His durability became an issue last year and it’s a very real concern the team has and wants him to improve upon.
But the fact Ryan is going to be back in the lineup tomorrow tells me it wasn’t a serious transgression. This isn’t Jack Wilson Part II. You’ll remember, last year right at this very time and in this very ballpark, Wilson pulled himself out of a game after making two errors at a second base position he wasn’t familiar with. Wedge chose then and there to make an example of Wilson for the entire team to see. Wilson wound up sitting out multiple games in a punishment I didn’t feel fit the crime at the time, but like I said, the reason he sat was he was being used as an example.
Ryan is being made an example of here as well, though to a far lesser degree. Wedge has less to prove with these players now. They know him.
Erasmo Ramirez was sporting a 10-mile-wide smile in the clubhouse, writing some things down on a souvenir baseball he kept from his major league debut last night. Ramirez wrote the names of his three strikeout victims on it, as well as the date.
“How do you spell Murphy?” he asked, in reference to David Murphy, one of his strikeout victims.
Later, he asked: “What’s his first name?”
After a bit, I told him, in jest, that he’d forgotten to write Josh Hamilton’s name on the ball (great kidder that I am). Hamilton took Ramirez deep for a home run in his first inning of work.
“Oh, thank you,” he said, with a serious look on his face, taking the ball and writing Hamilton’s name with the initials “HR” next to it. The rest of us stood around watching this in semi-disbelief.
But hey, he wanted an accurate account.
Ramirez is one of those guys who just seems happy to be alive and breathing. So, naturally, he was beaming all through hs retelling of the events surrounding his three innings of one-run, two-hit ball.
As suspected, he didn’t even know they wanted him to warm up until the fourth inning was already underway. The Mariners looked like they were scrambling a bit after Hector Noesi put the leadoff guy on in the fourth and Ramirez had barely started warming up when the second batter, Mitch Moreland, hit a two-run homer to end Noesi’s night.
Ramirez said he couldn’t really tell how loud the crowd was as he was jogging out to the mound because he was so busy focusing on what he needed to do. He’d been ready to pitch a fourth inning as well until Wedge told him he was done.
“That was the first time I felt like I could breathe easily,” Ramirez said.
He’ll get a few days to recover. So, thast means, if Blake Beavan implodes tonight, we could see Hisashi Iwakuma take the mound. The team seems to be avoiding any use of Iwakuma for as long as possible. He’s the only non-starter yet to appear in a game. John Jaso is the only position player who hasn’t appeared so far.
Mike Carp is to play in a minor league intrasquad game in Peoria, Ariz. tomorrow, with the Mariners to decide after that whether he’s ready to head out on a rehabilitation assignment.
LF Chone Figgins
2B Dustin Ackley
1B Justin Smoak
3B Kyle Seager
DH Jesus Montero
CF Michael Saunders
C Miguel Olivo
SS Munenori Kawasaki
RHP Blake Beavan
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
C Mike Napoli
1B Mitch Moreland
RHP Neftali Feliz