Acting manager Robby Thompson brushed off the notion that the Mariners are converting Tom Wilhelmsen to starting, but didn’t completely shut the door. Wilhelmsen, sent down last night, started for Tacoma today and was roughed up, giving up homers to two of the first three hitters, and three runs total in two innings.
But back to the question of Wilhelmsen becoming a starter, Thompson said, “As of now, no. Basically, it’s a situation where we wanted him to go back down and regain his confidence. Regain pinpointing that fastball, having precise command with it like he’s had in the past so his secondary stuff can work off of that.”
Thompson said that logistically it’s easier for Wilhelmsen to get his necessary work in from a starting role.
“This is all about him right now. It’s not about trying to work him back into the closer’s spot or setup guy or whatever. It’s basically for Tom to get his confidence level back up, and once again, work on that fastball. He can go out, he can throw, and then he’s done. He doesn’t have to go down to the bullpen and sit around and wonder when his time is going to be. He’s going to be on a set schedule, and he doesn’t have to worry about any of the other stuff, other than him working on what he’s down there to work on.”
Thompson said Wilhelmsen didn’t appear surprised when they told him after last night’s game he was going down.
” I think he feels he needs to go down there and get better. Try to get back to where he was before, because over the last couple months, there’s really been some inconsistency when he takes the mound, no matter when that situation was.”
Carter Capps returns to the Mariners after a seven-game stint with the Rainiers in which he gave up just two earned runs in 11 innings. But Capps said he wasn’t overly concerned with his numbers, but rather on refining some mechanical changes the Mariners wanted him to make.
“Just staying on top of the baseball, and staying in line a little bit better,” he said. “I was pretty far across my body when I went down there. The pitching coaches down there did a great job. I worked with Dwight Bernard a little bit, and Terry Clark toward the end. They did a great job helping me understand what was causing me to get out of line.
“I’m just fixing those things. I think it will help with all my pitches, help with consistency. I have to keep at it, not get lax with the drills that help me get back in line.”
Stephen Pryor, who is out for the season after suffering a triceps injury, was to see a doctor today to discuss his options. It’s a discouraging development for Pryor, who had been battling back from the lat injury that sidelined him since April..
“I felt like everything was good,” he said. “I could pitch at 90 percent, but when I tried to get after it a little bit, I could really feel it. I did that a few times, then we re-evaluated. That’s when we did the MRI.
“It was tough for me mentally, because I wanted to come back and finish the year healthy. But it’s not in the cards. Now I’ll just get ready and go toward next year. Hopefully I can spend a full year next year and be injury free. That’s my goal.”
And here’s Thompson on Franklin Gutierrez, who returned from his rehab stint but remained on the disabled list (hamstring):
“He’s still not really 100 percent. He still has a couple good days and a couple bad days. We pulled him off, and I think it’s a five-day period where he’ll continue to get treatment. He’ll hit in the cage and throw and continue doing that and he’ll get back and start his rehab assignment then.
“Just talking to him, when he does come back we need him to be at a point where we can use him and use him against right-handers and left-handers, maybe in back-to-back days. If he’s not playing, he needs to be ready on the bench to pinch hit or pinch run and go out to the outfield. As of right now, he’s not really to that point where he feels comfortable or confident to come back right now.”