Updated 5:57 p.m.
So Jack Z took all of phone calls in succession.
“We are taking the cautious route,” he said. “It’s a setback. We’ll shut him down and build him back up. We felt this was the best course of action. We don’t believe that this will be anything longterm. But we are trying to keep in mind that big picture. It’s the right thing to do.”
Zduriencik was just happy that Walker didn’t try to pitch through it.
“He made the right decision,” Zduriencik said. “I’m glad he was honest. It could have been much worse it.”
Zduriencik didn’t think the shoulder issues had anything to do with Walker’s mechanics or his bulked up frame and he wouldn’t go anywhere near a Danny Hultzen comparison.
“Every pitcher is different,” he said. “They have different mechanics and go through different things. The reality is that pitchers can get hurt. It’s an unnatural movement when you throw a baseball with that much force and some players bodies react differently.”
Zduriencik said that 40-man roster consideration will weigh heavily in their decision on who to call up for the Sunday start.
Updated 5:39 p.m. (Lone Star State time)
Bob Dutton of the TNT tracked down Jack Z (hat tip to him) and tweeted that Taijuan Walker has a right shoulder impingement and will be shut down for two weeks.
That is not good news. That length of time means he will have to start over from the beginning with his throwing program. It’s likely he won’t be throwing in a game any time soon.
I’m guessing the M’s may have a formal announcement some time soon.
Updated 4:06 p.m. (Texas time)
The Mariners have made another roster move. Blake Beavan has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his shoulder, though he described the injury as “dead arm.” The organization has called up outfielder James Jones to take his place on the 25-man roster. The Mariners will likely have to make one more roster move in the next few days since their starter for Sunday is listed as “To Be Announced.”
“We’ve given some things some thoughts and I’m going to talk to Jack tonight,” McClendon said. “And we’ll figure it out. Hopefully tonight or maybe tomorrow we’ll have an answer for you guys.”
With the 40-man roster full, it seems unlikely the Mariners would want to burn a roster spot for a pitcher not on the 40-man.
“It’s not my decision to make, obviously,” McClendon said. “Offhand, I’d say that’s probably highly unlikely. In order to put a guy on there, you have to take a guy off. I just can’t see any general manager wanting to do that. Now I’m not saying it might not happen, but it’s probably highly unlikely.”
That leaves Brandon Maurer or lefty Anthony Fernandez as the likeliest of candidates. Maurer isn’t completely stretched out. He threw 49 pitches in two innings the other day. But he could be up to about 60-65 pitches, which could also be a handful of innings for him. Fernandez is scheduled to start tonight in Tacoma. They could treat it as bullpen session and let him throw three innings before pulling him.
As for Nick Franklin, McClendon plans to use him in a variety of ways.
“Nick will play, we’ll probably move him around,” McClendon said. “Probably tomorrow, he’ll play second and Robbie (Cano) will DH to give Robbie a day. Maybe against a left-hander he’ll be in the outfield. Maybe shortstop, maybe third.”
McClendon wasn’t too concerned with the fact that Franklin didn’t play any outfield with the Rainiers.
“He played it in spring training,” he said. “He did fine. Nick is a former outfielder. He’s not a neophyte. It’s like riding a bike. You get back on and ride it again. What the hell, the lights are a little brighter in the big leagues. He should be even better. Nick wants to play. I’m sure he’s going to embrace it.”
Franklin wasn’t too concerned about playing outfield.
“I’m really comfortable in the outfield,” Franklin said. “It’s a lot easier than the infield that’s for sure. Outfield is second nature. It’s just go out there and have fun with it. But be smart at the same time.”
McClendon will also use Jones in a variety of ways.
“We are going to a national league ballpark and he can certainly play defense and steal a base,” McClendon said. “I’m not sure if there are a lot of at-bats for him. I just thought it was the right move to make going into an NL ballpark with pinch hitting, double switches and maybe a sac bunt. Whatever the case may be, I think he fits that mold. I think he’s a prototypical player to do that. And he’s a roster player so that makes sense.”
*** McClendon didn’t have any detailed updates on Taijuan Walker’s status other than that he was seeing a doctor today.
“My assumption is that he’s probably going to miss some time,” McClendon said.
*** The Mariners decided to place Morrison on the DL after he told McClendon he could hit, but couldn’t really run before last night’s game.
“I don’t want this kid going out there at 70 percent and then end up hurting it again, then we are really screwed,” McClendon said. “The best thing to do – cause I’ve been down that road before – is to just get it right and get it healthy and get him back out there. He understands.”
*** Beavan said he will receive treatment today and tomorrow and then fly back to Seattle for more treatment. He hopes to begin tossing some time next week.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I’ve never been taken out of a game because of something wrong with my arm. I’ve pitched with a tight back, sore knee, but nothing that’s affected my velocity like that. I can’t explain it. Hopefully it’s something that we can get out of there in the next 10 days.”
*** Charlie Furbush – the Mariners’ player rep – said the team wanted to make up the postponed game in Oakland on May 6 – the middle day of the three-game series. But the A’s asked for the last day – May 7. Since the A’s were willing to make it a regular doubleheader and not a day/night split doubleheader, the Mariners were overruled.
“Under the basic agreement, Oakland has the authority to say they want to play a straight doubleheader and we can’t do anything about it,” Furbush said. “Originally, it was a split doubleheader, which is something we didn’t want to do. Once they said they wanted to do a straight doubleheader, under the basic agreement, we have to agree.
“I guess MLB got involved at some point. I don’t know how much influence they had. When I talked to our guys at our players association, they said that they were pushing for us to get it on the second day because they felt it was the best day for us, given the fact that (the A’s) have an off-day on that Thursday after playing us. We thought we could make something work. But unfortunately we have to play the straight doubleheader on getaway day.”
Furbush said that neither team wanted to push a doubleheader to the September series. It’s tough stretch of games and travel.
“We’ll survive,” he said. “We’ll be alright and we’ll go beat them twice.”
The roster move is official. Nick Franklin has been called up and Logan Morrison has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Franklin is in the line-up, batting sixth as the designated hitter. We have yet to speak with Lloyd McClendon about Franklin’s role with the team. Again, he didn’t play any outfield during games in Tacoma. So his outfield experience is limited to the handful of innings in spring. Not sure if he was working pregame on outfield stuff with the Rainiers.
Another note … the Mariners’ postponed game on April 7 has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on May 7 in Oakland. That’s the getaway day of a long 10-day road trip for the Mariners that now features 10 games in nine days. The team comes back and plays seven straight at home. So Seattle has 16 games in 15 days in May with games at the Yankees and A’s and home set against the Royals and Rays. Not to play the schedule game. But that will be an interesting stretch.