The Mariners were counting on George Sherill to assume a key role in the back end of their bullpen, but after he struggled early and landed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday, his future is clouded.
Sherrill, who didn’t pitch after Aug. 26 last year because of elbow inflammation, is again having pain in his left elbow. The injury is being termed a strained flexor bundle, but he underwent an MRI exam Saturday as doctors try to determine the extent of the injury.
“We’ll check it out and see what’s what,” Sherrill said. “Hopefully, it’s not a scope-type situation (arthroscopic surgery). If it is, it is, but I’m hoping it’s not. That would be two months or so. If it’s anything less than needing to be cleaned up, then hopefully it should be the 15 days and be done with it.”
Sherrill said he felt fine in Japan but began to have problems at a workout after appearing in back-to-back games at the end of spring training, after the team had returned from Japan.
“There was no way I could have thrown that day,” he said. “Then I warmed up twice the next day. When I warmed up twice the next day, it actually felt OK, but I knew there wasn’t anything on it. Then same thing when we got to Texas. There wasn’t anything to it. Any good breaking ball bounced, and hurt. And the rest of the breaking balls were just cement mixers. You try to hump up, and you’ve got 85 (mph). Nothing against anybody who’s got 85, but I’m not used to it. When it’s 85 and flat, it’s kind of easy to hit.”
“After that, it didn’t feel good the next day, and felt worse the second day. Then it never got any better.”
Sherrill appeared in two games and gave up six hits — two of them homers — and four runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Manager Eric Wedge, meanwhile, confirmed that he stacked his lineup with all his right-handed hitters to face the A’s left-handed starter, Tommy Milone. As for having Jesus Montero behind the plate, he said, “I wasn’t going to catch Miggy (Miguel Olivo) today and tomorrow. I wanted to get Montero in with (Hector) Noesi, mix that up a little bit.”
Wedge continued to talk up his offense, despite their early struggles. “There’s such a big difference between last year and this year,” he said. ” Last year, we were scrambling to find nine guys to start at times. This year, I feel we have more than nine guys capable of starting. That’s without (Franklin) Gutierrez and (Mike) Carp even here. That says a lot right there.
“For it to translate, that’s the big step. And it has, inconsistently, and it will, more consistently, as we keep going.”
With Carp starting a rehab assignment Friday with Tacoma, “We have tough decisions ahead of us, but that’s a good sign,” Wedge said. “It’s no different than spring training. But that’s part of it. We’re going to keep the guys up here we feel give us the best chance to win ballgames. The ones that stay up here are going to be because they continue to do that, it’s that simple.
“As we get further into this, we’re going to start stacking different areas of our club up a little bit in different positions. That’s a good sign.”
I asked him if he would like to get John Jaso a start behind the plate soon. Doesn’t sound like it’s a real urgent priority.
“I don’t know. I would like to, but we’re going to have to get into the season a little more. I’ll try to get him in there in some capacity tomorrow.”