Skip not ready, Stephen DL’d again, Jesus serving 50 . . .

ERIC WEDGE UPDATE
According to Jack, via Greg Johns, who speaks with him everyday, he’s progressing well but, won’t join the team just yet when the team returns home . . .

“I don’t think Eric will be with us this week,” Zduriencik said prior to Sunday’s series finale with the Orioles. “I know he has a couple appointments ongoing. He’s got something midweek where he’s going to sit down with doctors.

“He’s doing well. I talk to him every day and he sounds normal and he’s excited to get back here. He wants to get back. But when Eric gets back, you want him to be back. His anxiousness to get back here in the dugout is one thing, but this is a life-long health issue for him. When he gets back managing this club, we want him to be here. You don’t want him to come in here and be here for two or three days.

“The stress of a ballgame, the length of time a manager has to put in and the way he is — he comes early and leaves late — from our standpoint, they just need to sign off and say you’re 100 percent ready to go so we don’t have a bump in the road where he’s out here 3-4 days and then has to take a step back. That’s not fair to Eric or fair to the ballclub. I think we’ll just wait and give it a little more time.”

M*A*S*H
Really disappointing news on Stephen Pryor – here’s Shannon’s report

Reliever Stephen Pryor has suffered a significant setback in attempt to return to the Mariners this year from a lat injury. As I reported yesterday, Pryor was to get checked out further by team doctors to see what was causing a “bruising sensation” in the area of his triceps. General manager Jack Zduriencik told us this morning in Baltimore what was found on his MRI was concerning enough to shut him down for the remainder of the year.

“They really didn’t like what they saw,” Zduriencik said. “He is going to get re-evaluated and we are going to look through this thing further as it is very unusual.”

Zduriencik was not sure how or specifically when the injury occurred. He said it is not related to the previous lat injury, however.

This is tough news for the team that could use a healthy Pryor in the bullpen but even a bigger blow for Pryor, who has been working hard to come back from the original injury.

Disappointing on another level (though we’ve been hearing it would happen for months now) – Jesus’s suspension . . .
Larry’s story

“The Seattle Mariners are disappointed that Jesus Montero has violated the terms of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  Our organization fully supports the Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.”

The Mariners said that will be their only comment on the matter. Commissioner Bud Selig  and union chief Michael Weiner also had lengthy statements which can be found at the end of this post. Weiner said of the 12 players who didn’t appeal (excluding A-Rod): “The accepted suspensions announced today are consistent with the punishments set forth in the Joint Drug Agreement, and were arrived at only after hours of intense negotiations between the bargaining parties, the players and their representatives.

The Mariners haven’t had a player on their 40-man roster suspended for PEDs since Ryan Franklin, Jamal Strong and current Mariner Mike Morse in 2005. One of the unique things about this case is that none of the players failed a drug test. However, baseball still has the power to suspend players based on a “non-analytical positive” — evidence other than a drug test. The 23-year-old Montero is currently playing in Tacoma. It is believed Montero will be able to serve his entire suspension this season even though Tacoma has just 28 games remaining this season.

Montero has been linked to the Biogenesis Anti-Aging clinic since Februry – an association he strongly and repeatedly denied when the story first broke in the New York Daily News on Feb. 6. The Daily News reported that Montero had been named in the records of Biogenesis, the clinic which is at the heart of MLB’s latest PED scandal.

told ya so . . .

Well, I was hoping anyway and, I think I had pretty good reason behind that hope . . .
will he won’t he, will he won’t he stand pat today?

And, sure enough, he did!

Here’s Jack’s reasoning via Greg Johns’ Mariner Musings blog . . .

“There were discussions,” Zduriencik said. “But at the end, I didn’t think there was the right situation for us at this time. There’s an obligation here to our fans and certainly to the players here on this team. They’ve played well recently.”

Zduriencik chose to hang on to veteran hitters Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez, as well as reliever Oliver Perez, starter Joe Saunders and shortstop Brendan Ryan, all players on one-year deals who could become free agents at season’s end in the hope of finishing strong and setting the right tone going forward.

“I think we have a good young big league club right now. You see that in front of your eyes,” he said. “To detract from it, I think it would have been devastating to some of the guys in this clubhouse. I think it would have been the wrong message to send. So you stay the course and watch this club play the next couple months.”

While the Mariners could lose those key veterans without any return, Zduriencik says there is a benefit to keep them for the final two months.

“When you let a guy leave, it’s harder to get a guy back,” he said. “Once you break your marriage up and you want to go back and ask that player to come back, it’s much harder to do. He probably feels somewhat betrayed. Now you have to start all over again.

“Having these guys here – certainly they have the right to walk – but we also have the first right to re-sign them if we choose,” he said. “And I think that’s important to a player, especially if they like Seattle. If they are saying, ‘I’d like to be part of this thing going forward. I like what’s going on. It would be great.’ Who knows, we may have the inside track on some of these players back here. That was a little bit of the thinking as well.”

 

OK, they didn’t stand totally pat . . .

 

 

Heal fast and well, Skip!

I mentioned it in the game post but, of course news like this deserves it’s own . . .

It was reported after the game today that the cause of Eric Wedge’s dizzy spells on Monday during batting practice, and his subsequent hospitalization, was a very mild stroke. The good news is that he is expected to make a full recovery but, he needs to rest and relax. So, that’s what he’ll be doing as the Mariners play their next TEN games ( home vs. the Twins and away vs. the Red Sox and the Orioles). Bench Coach Robby Thompson will be taking the helm in Eric’s stead.

Sometimes it takes an event like this to really understand the impact a player, coach or manager has on a team and from some of the thoughts in this great piece by Jerry Brewer, it sounds like impact-full is a bit of and understated adjective with regard to Eric Wedge.

He’s a patient taskmaster who has a feel for when to kick and when to comfort. He’s just as loyal to his players as he is demanding. And in an era of rampant second-guessing of the Mariners, he is their most voluble evangelist, preaching the virtue of this youth-based plan, sharing a vision that many are too skeptical to see, talking positive even during the gut-wrenching moments.

Consider Wedge in total, talk to people who work with him daily, and you’re left to characterize him not by intimidation but by the genuine respect he inspires.

And that’s why he is receiving a clubhouse full of prayers right now.

“We’ll be thinking of him,” shortstop Brendan Ryan said. “He’ll be with us.”

Of course, any compassionate colleague would say that, but the emotions behind the Mariners’ words were real. Isn’t that Wedge’s pet word — “real”? To emphasize the legitimacy of what the Mariners are building, he often says “It’s real!” as passionately as any man has ever spoken the two words.

In the clubhouse Wednesday afternoon, the affinity for Wedge was definitely real.

“From Day One, when he took over, I feel like he’s had my back,” first baseman Justin Smoak said. “He has stuck with me, even when I got sent down to Triple A.”

“Eric is a very caring man and loves every one of those guys in the clubhouse,” said bench coach Robby Thompson, who is serving as the temporary manager. “I’m sure they return that to him.”

Eric Wedge | fangraphs photo

Eric Wedge | fangraphs photo

Rauuuuuuul! Yes, he is SO cool :-)

So, yeah . . .
raise your hand if you penciled in Raul for club leader in RBI (56), homers (24) & tied for triples (2) at the break.

And then, there’s that little matter of being on pace to obliterate the record for homers at age 41+ (held by none other than Ted Williams – 29)

Here’s the thing . . .
Raul wasn’t even supposed to be playing this much. Seems most figured his role would be pinch hitter/platoon player with some occasionally starts in LF but, for the most part, he would be a mentor to “the kids” (much as Junior was in 2009).

But, life and baseball had other plans and, when various injuries side-lined the entire outfield at one time or another (Guti AND Michael Morse AND Michael Saunders) Raul was called in for more service than anyone could have imagined. He’s started 54 games in LF and, while no one will mistake him for a gold glover, he’s been more than serviceable (even has a handful of assists) and then there’s his bat ~ pretty darned amazing what he’s accomplished so far this season.

Good on ya, Raul ~ keep up the good work!

Raul doing what he does | Ted S. Warren, AP

Raul doing what he does | Ted S. Warren, AP

 

Some good reads on Raul . . .

Ibanez’s fountain (and kale) of youth | Jim Caple
( hey, sounds like he’s a fellow Paleo 🙂 )

Raul Ibañez nominated for Branch Rickey Award | Mariners.com

Raul Ibanez speaks on approaching Ted Williams | Gary Hill

 

Homer Happenings

Here we are at the All Star Break and The King and Kuma are on their way to join in the festivities in New York.

In the meantime, I’ll take a look at the “1st half” highlights over the next couple of days – starting with the consecutive home run streak. Now, those who know me, know my love of defense and that my mantra has always been . . .

Chicks did the long ball but, REAL women love leather

That being said, even I must admit this little home run barrage the guys are on is pretty fun. I mean, it’s been more than a   L  O  N  G   while since the Mariners were tied for SECOND highest homer total in the MAJORS (115) at the break.

Here’s the distribution of the THIRTY-SEVEN home runs the Mariners have hit during the streak that started on June 20th in Anaheim . . .

  • Raul 10
  • Kyle 7
  • Kendrys 6
  • Justin 4
  • Jason 3
  • Nick 3
  • Michael S 2
  • Brendan 1
  • Guti 1

Multi-homer games
Raul and Kendrys each hit 2 homers in 1 game twice

Team breakdown

  • 1 homer – 12x
  • 2 homers – 6x
  • 3 homers – 3x
  • 4 homers – 1x

Here’s to the guys picking up the streak where they left it upon resumption of play on Friday!
and maybe Brad, Dustin, Endy, Henry and Mike Z can get on the board with a contribution or two 🙂

 

g89 | Whoa! O

Mariners 11 | Red Sox 4

Talk about a COMPLETE win!
Felix wasn’t perfect (it happens 😉 ) but he was certainly good enough and the bats really came through for him. There was only ONE Mariner without a hit, only TWO that didn’t score at least one run and only THREE w/o at least one RBI . . . Seattle, we have “O”! As mentioned more than once on the recent road trip, it’s SO good to see the kids coming through (I mean we all love Raul but, he is not the future of this franchise though, his worth to the kids in work ethic and mentorship is truly invaluable).

ON THE MOUND
Happy, Happy Felix Day!
Felix had to work a bit in this one, with runners on base in each of the first FIVE innings. The only one that was really trouble was the 5th when the RS scored their first TWO runs via a lead off HBP, a couple of singles and a strikeout on a WP that got away from Mike Z. He finished strong though, retiring the Sox in order in the 6th and 7th so he could sit an await his 9th win to be bestowed.

} Ollie was a little uncharacteristically sloppy, allowing THREE hits and TWO runs in his single inning – guess he’s not used to pitching with such a big lead 😉
} Yoervis faired a bit better but, did allow a hit and hit a batter before retiring the Sox for good

AT THE PLATE
Alrighty then!
We’ll take FIFTEEN hits (‘specially when nearly half are for extra bases) and ELEVEN runs every day of the week and twice on Sunday!

M’s batters made Lester throw 39 pitches in the 4th when they scored their first two runs . . .
Justin with an RBI double and Michael S with a bases-loaded walk and the M’s were up 2-0

But, THAT was just the beginning of the Red Sox “double trouble” ~ in total, the M’s recorded SIX doubles . . .
~ Michael S 2 doubles (3RBI), Justin 2 doubles (2RBI), Nick 1 double (1RBI), Kendrys 1 double

Justin - doubles crazy | Ted S. Warren, AP

Justin – doubles crazy | Ted S. Warren, AP

~Rauuuuuuul hit his 22nd homer in the 5th (solo shot) and added another RBI (his 51st) on a 6th inning single
~ Brad’s FIRST major league RBI via a hit on his 7th inning single
~ Mike Z had TWO hits, and a FC for an RBI in the 8th

IN THE FIELD
* Mike with a passed ball with a man on at 3B = bad news
* Brad with a couple of web gems (both to get Pedroia)
* only ONE DP (Brad-Nick-Justin) in the 1st inning

 

quote of the game . . . 

“Whenever we get on the board for FiFi, good things are going to happen for us.”
—Justin Smoak

 

tweets of the game . . . 

 

NOTE:
Prior to the game it was announced that the Mariners have DFA’d Jeremy Bonderman and recalled Lucas Luetge from AAA Tacoma. Good luck where ever you land, Jeremy – it’s a pretty gutsy adventure you are on – I hope it ends well for you. (speculation is that Erasmo will be called up prior to Thursday, which would have been Jeremy’s turn)
On a lighter note, here’s Lucas’s fortune from the other night . . .

 

AND, good things down I-5 tonight . . .

 

AND a bit  f u r t h e r  south on the farm . . .

 

Congrats to Kuma and The King ~ 2013 All-Stars

CONGRATULATIONS to the M’s collective 1-2 punch!!!

Felix named to his 4th ASG | Marinerds, etc. blog

Felix named to his 4th ASG | Marinerds, etc. blog

Kuma gets first ASG selection | NewsTribune

Kuma gets first ASG selection | NewsTribune

Felix earned his fourth All Star selection and Hisashi his first. If the rotation stays as is – Kuma would be scheduled to pitch the Sunday before the ASG which, in recent years, would deem him ineligible to actually pitch in the game. But, some changes in the CBA have changed that . . . Larry’s run down of the new rules

Iwakuma, however, is scheduled to start for the Mariners next Sunday, the last day before the All-Star break. If that happens, MLB rules dictate he may opt to be replaced on the American League roster, or be limited to one inning.  Iwakuma would still attend the game at New York’s Citi Field and go through all the festivities and be introduced with the team.

Iwakuma has the lowest ERA in the American League (2.60), followed by Hernandez at No. 2 (2.69). Iwakuma also has the lowest WHIP in the AL (0.88) to go with a 7-4 record. Hernandez is 8-4 and ranks fourth in the AL with 130 strikeouts. Iwakuma’s chances seemed to have dimmed with a stretch of four starts in which he went 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA to raise his ERA from 1.79, but his body of work over 18 starts prevailed.

Unfortunately, no Rauuuuuuul . . .

 

Alex Liddi traded to the O’s and International Draft picks swapped . . .

The Mariners have traded third baseman/first baseman Alex Liddi and their international signing slot No. 3 for the Orioles’ international signing slot No. 2.

Liddi is reportedly headed for the Orioles’ Triple A affiliate in Norfolk.

Liddi, 24, has appeared in 8 games with the Mariners this season (.059/1×17), spending most of the season with AAA Tacoma. With the Rainiers he is batting .263 (63×240) with 11 home runs and 43 RBI. Liddi was originally signed by the Mariners as an international free agent on Sept. 9, 2005. The native of Sanremo, Italy is the first Italian-born and developed player to appear in a Major League game.

This basically gives the Mariners more money to spend on the international free agent market.

Liddi was designated for assignment when the Mariners called up Brad Miller. The team had 10 days to either release, trade or outright Liddi. With the Orioles likely to claim him off of waivers, the Mariners picked up some more money on the international market instead.

 

Good news on the bullpen front . . .

Ups, Downs, all-arounds . . .

Just catching up on some of the movement of late.

Brad Miller’s call up set off some dominoes . . .
Reporting to AAA Tacoma were IF Carlos Triufel (optioned to make room on the 25-man roster) and RP Josh Kinney (out-righted, to make room on the 40-man roster) and 3B Ty Kelly (received in a trade from Baltimore for OF Eric Thames) and 1B Alex Liddi was designated for assignment.

Minor League Recognition . . .

M*A*S*H
* Guti back to the 15-day DL (hamstring) after only playing 1.5 games back from his last stint
* Michael M (strained quad) is getting close to being sent to Tacoma for a rehab assignment
* Jesus Montero scheduled to DH tomorrow in AZ (will be limited to DH/1B for the remainder of the year)
* Danny Hultzen was scratched a couple of nights ago from only his second start in Tacoma since coming off the DL – tests revealed no structural damage but, he’ll have 10-14 days before throwing again.

International Free Agents . . .
M’s sign 16-yr old Venezuelan OF, Greifer Andrade
Top-30 and where they’ve signed

 

 

big happenings on an “off-night” . . .

Apparently, Tacoma is where the action is ~ the Rainiers weren’t off tonight, far from it!

They posted a 2-0 victory tonight behind the pitching of Danny Hultzen, fresh off the DL, and pretty darned impressive ~ SIX innings ~ TWO hits ~ ZERO runs ~ ONE walk ~ SIX strikeouts

some other stats re: Danny’s outing . . . 

Way to go, Danny!

Now, there’s another interesting tid-bit from this game . . .

Brad Miller extended his hitting streak to TWENTY-TWO with a home run in the 6th inning to give the Rainiers a 2-0 lead at the time that would be the eventual final score. According to Mike Curto, the Rainiers all-time hit streak is 26 games, set in 1965. Brad, however, won’t be able to continue to seek that streak, as he’s got a much bigger quest calling him up I-5 . . .

He’s been called up to the bigs! 

It just so happens I’ll be at The Safe for the M’s / Cubs game tomorrow night . . .

It would be awesome to see Brad’s big league debut ~ though I’ve read some speculative tweets that it’s not likely due to the fact that there’s a tough lefty starting for the Cubs.

I’ve also seen some analysis that, while Brad’s bat has been shining bright, his defense still needs a little polishing. Here’s hoping that Brendan is willing to be a mentor ~ what a great opportunity this could be for Brad to learn tips and tricks from one of the best defensive shortstops in the game!

Congrats and Good Luck, Brad!

Brad Miller | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brad Miller | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Ryan Divish | News Tribune

“I didn’t even know what to say, honestly,” he said. “They pulled me in and told me. Still I don’t think it has set in yet. I’m just so thankful and excited.”

Miller will be at Safeco Field and likely in the starting line-up when Seattle opens a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs.

“I’m on cloud nine,” Stearns said. “I got to tell him that he was going to the big leagues for the first time. It brings tears to your eyes, that’s how good it is. He was crying, and it was a sensational moment. You get a few of those moments in your lifetime.  I was able to tell David Wright that he was going to the big leagues for the first time when I was working for New York, and this was every bit as good or better than that: Brad Miller.”

Taijuan’s Tacoma debut and other news and notes

Taijuan Walker made his AAA debut for the Rainiers last night in Tacoma ~ the youngest Rainier (20) since Felix (19) in 2005. By all accounts, things went well . . .

SIX innings ~ THREE hits ~ ZERO runs ~ TWO walks ~ FOUR strikeouts

  • totals: 87 pitches / 57 strikes
  • by inning: 18, 11, 14, 13, 14, 17
  • speeds: fastball 92-97, cutter 89-92, curve 69-72 mph, change-up: 85-85

 

 

 

oh yeah ~ and the Rainiers won the game! 1-0 (on a home run by Abraham Almonte)

 

 

 

 

 

Now, the bad news . . .

Franklin Gutierrez is back on the DL after coming up w/ a hamstring strain in his second game back from the DL

 

But, Dustin Ackley is back and, presumably, ready to play the outfield