Mariners will monitor Pineda, but no limit planned
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Sunday that he and pitching coach Carl Willis are keeping an eye on rookie Michael Pineda, who is currently on pace to pitch 200 2/3 innings this rookie season.
The Mariners have mapped out a couple scenarios for the remaining three months of the season with their entire five-man rotation, which is the only starting group that has not missed a game yet this year. Wedge wasn’t in the mood to share the specifics of those possible scenarios, but indicated the team would primarily just keep the five starters in the same rotation and monitor innings and tough situations as they arise.
“Carl has played it out. We’ve done a couple different scenario with guys at certain junctures,” Wedge said. “I think we’ll just stay on line with everything. Then as we work the off days, guys will just get extra days. We may alter that as need be, but that’s our thought process right now.”
As of Sunday afternoon, Felix Hernandez ranks fifth among American League starters with 121 1/3 innings. Jason Vargas is 14th at 104 1/3. Doug Fister, who pitches Sunday night, is tied for 17th at 102 1/3 innings. Pineda is tied for 28th at 95 2/3 innings, while Erik Bedard is 48th with 83 innings.
As for plans for the 22-year-old Pineda specifically?
“We’ve mapped that out in several different ways,” said Wedge. “Nothing I’m going to throw out to you. But when I said [possibly skipping starts at] different junctures, he’s one of the guys I’m talking about. And not just him. A few of these other guys, if we stay on this course.
“Michael sticks out, being his first full season and what not, but afew of these other guys … Bedard has been awhile since he’s done it. Obviously Vargas built up last year, but he’s piling up innings. Fister will be throwing longer than he ever has. We’ve played it out and I think we’ll be able to manage it
“If it ges to point where it’s a little tight at the end, that’ll be a good thing and will be for good reasons. But we’ve been trying to manage his game-to-game pitch count and inning-to-inning pitch count.”
Wedge feels the big challenge isn’t the total number of innings, but the number of high-pressure or longer innings.
“Where you really extend yourself is when you have to push through an inning and get deep into an inning, that’s when the fatigue sets in,” he said. “You’re reaching back and that’s when you have to be careful. I think we’ve been managing pretty well to this point and we just need to stay on top of it.”
Bedard threw just 81 innings in 2008, 83 innings in ’09 and 11 Minor League rehab innings last season due to shoulder problems. He’already at 83 this year going into his 15th start of the season on Monday night against the Braves.
“I think he’s strong, but we still have to keep an eye on him,” said Wedge. “We have to keep an eye on everybody. Felix is in a whole different league, obviously, but even with Felix we still keep an eye on him and push and pull and do what we have to do.
“With Bedard, he’s done a good job. His routine has been great, he’s stayed strong. We’ll keep an eye on him as well, but no red flags.”