The Mariners let the 1 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline go by without making any further moves on Tuesday, having dealt relievers Brandon League and Steve Delabar on Monday night and Ichiro Suzuki a week earlier.
That means GM Jack Zduriencik is going forward with the starting rotation intact for now, with Jason Vargas and Kevin Millwood still part of the mix.
That might surprise some, but Vargas still has another year of team control and if they’d dealt him, they’d have found themselves looking for a similar mid-rotation veteran next year, I have a feeling. So unless they got the right offer, it didn’t make sense to deal the lefty.
Vargas will be on the hill tonight when the Mariners go for their sixth straight win against the Blue Jays.
Millwood would have been the classic rental player as he’s on a one-year deal. But I know manager Eric Wedge values Millwood’s veteran presence in a young clubhouse and giving him up for a low-level prospect didn’t seem worth it.
So here we are, with outfielder Eric Thames arriving today after being acquired from the Blue Jays. And two relievers will be added today to replace League and Delabar, with rookies Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps the likely additions.
Zduriencik will meet with the media at 2 p.m., so we’ll update with his thoughts this afternoon on Mariners.com.
Busy night for the Mariners on Monday with Jack Zduriencik announcing a pair of trades moments after the club beat Toronto 4-1. The non-waiver trade deadline isn’t until 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, but Seattle did two deals late Monday in sending former All-Star closer Brandon League to the Dodgers for a pair of prospects and reliever Steve Delabar to the Blue Jays for outfielder Eric Thames.
What exactly does that mean? Thames is currently in Triple-A and having a big year, but has spent parts of the past two seasons with Toronto and will join the Mariners on Tuesday. Expect him to replace struggling Carlos Peguero, who was packing his bags post-game tonight and likely is headed back to Tacoma.
Peguero got a brief shot to replace Ichiro in right field, but was hitting just .146 and had struck out 22 times in 41 at-bats, including three more on Monday night.
Thames reportedly isn’t much of a defensive outfielder, but the 25-year-old has hit .257 with 15 home runs, 31 doubles and 48 RBIs in 510 at-bats over parts of the past two years with Toronto. He’s batting .335 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 53 games with Las Vegas in the PCL since getting sent down earlier this year.
“He’s a left-handed hitter and he’ll probably get some playing time in a [platoon]-type scenario,” Zduriencik said. “He’s had a real nice year in Triple-A and is a great kid who still has options left as well. It’s a good thing to get a kid that has some big-league experience and is doing the things he’s currently doing.”
As for the two prospects in the League deal, outfielder Leon Landry is a 22-year-old putting up big numbers in Class-A ball. He’ll report to the Mariners’ High Desert team. And right-handed pitcher Logan Bawcom is a 23-year-old reliever who has 20 saves and a 2.03 ERA while splitting time between the Dodgers’ A and AA teams this season.
“Leon is an outfielder from LSU, a third-round draft pick a couple years ago,” Zduriencik said. “Our guys like hiim. He’s a very athletic outfielder and we’re happy to have him. Bawcom is a closer in Double-A with Chatanooga. He’ll report to Jackson.”
The Mariners will make moves Tuesday to replace Delabar and League in the bullpen. Hard-throwing rookie Stephen Pryor is one logical addition as he’s been back in Tacoma since recovering from a strained groin muscle. Another flame-throwing youngster, Carter Capps, was just promoted to Tacoma and could make the quick jump as well.
Tom Wilhelmsen was missing Monday as well as his wife was delivering their first child, with manager Eric Wedge saying he didn’t know if he’d be available Tuesday. So that’s another wrinkle.
On top of all that, Zduriencik might not be done dealing. The trade deadline isn’t until 1 p.m. and his phone line is still buzzing. Starters Kevin Millwood and Jason Vargas could be available in the right scenarios and catcher Miguel Olivo is likely being shopped as well as a veteran in the final months of his contract and having lost much of his playing time to Jesus Montero and John Jaso.
Zduriencik acknowledged he could still be dealing.
“We have conversations going on,” he said. “You don’t know where it’ll lead from here. But we’ll see. We’ve been working on these for a while and this is where we settled [on Monday night].”
Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, who had gone to Japan to deal with a family situation, rejoined the club over the weekend and will start tonight’s game against the Blue Jays as Seattle goes for its fifth straight win.
This will be Iwakuma’s fifth start since moving into the rotation and he’s still seeking his first win in that role, having gone 0-1 with a 4.29 ERA as a starter. He’s gone five innings in three of those starts and six innings in his longest outing at Tampa and has threw a season-high 95 pitches in his last start against the Yankees.
So presumably the 30-year-old is building up arm strength and should be ready to go a little longer going forward.
He’ll face Toronto lefty Ricky Romero (8-7, 5.75 ERA). Here’s tonight’s Mariners lineup:
Dustin Ackley 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Jesus Montero C
John Jaso DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Casper Wells LF
Mike Carp 1B
Carlos Peguero RF
Brendan Ryan SS
Hisashi Iwakuma RHP
As we approach the last 24 hours before MLB’s non-waiver trade deadline — which is 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday — it’s clear the Mariners are interested in moving reliever Brandon League. No surprise there as League will be a free agent at season’s end and Seattle is in a seller’s position, sitting 10 games under .500 and 14 games out of first place in the AL West.
League’s name continues popping up as a potential match with the Dodgers, Giants and Angels, but I tend to not put much stock in any specific pre-trade talk because the guys doing the actual deals are usually the last ones leaking that news.
Did anybody know in advance that the Mariners were sending Ichiro to the Yankees? Any sources spreading early word on Michael Pineda going to the Yankees for Jesus Montero in December? How about last year’s trade deadline deals of Doug Fister to the Tigers and Erik Bedard to the Red Sox?
Nope, all those deals went down with no sources leaking word until right before the trades were done. So the fact the Mariners have talked to the Dodgers, Giants and Angels means little more than confirming what common sense already could have told you. League remains one of the Mariners main trade deadline chips, as we’ve said all along, and Jack Zduriencik is exploring the market.
Zduriencik has a couple guys that would make sense to move. League and Kevin Millwood are at the top of that list as “rental players” who’ll become free agents after the season, but could have short-term value to a team in contention.
Jason Vargas is the other one to watch. He has more value, since he’s under team control for another year as he heads into his final season of arbitration eligibility. He’s also having his best season as a starter. My sense is the Mariners won’t give up Vargas unless someone offers a pretty attractive offensive prospect in return, since they need middle-of-the-rotation starters behind Felix Hernandez and their young bucks aren’t ready quite yet.
Millwood is a different case. Manager Eric Wedge loves having him around as one of the few veteran leaders on the current club, but he’s 37 and in the final two months of a one-year, $1 million deal he signed as a non-roster invitee. Millwood has pitched pretty well this season, but lack of run support has left his record at 4-8 with a 3.90 ERA.
I asked him about a potential trade the other day and got the typical Millwood response.
“That’s just another thing I can’t control, so I try not to worry about things like that,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
What does he worry about at this point in his career?
“Not very much,” he said with a chuckle.
Millwood could help a playoff contender that needs a steady hand, so we’ll see if he goes.
As for League, he gave up three hits and three runs in Seattle’s 7-6 win over the Royals on Sunday, but has generally pitched better since losing his closer’s role to Tom Wilhelmsen in late May. Since then, he’s posted a 2.96 ERA with 27 hits, 8 runs, 7 walks and 14 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings.
Overall he’s 0-5 with a 3.63 ERA and nine saves this season. As a 2011 All-Star, when he saved 37 games, League is an experienced late-inning reliever who could bolster some team’s bullpen. He has about $1.8 million remaining on this year’s $5 million deal.
There may not be two more polar-opposite personalities in baseball than Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson. Mr. Snappy and Mr. Steady. The volatile Big Unit and the rock-solid Dan of Steel. The hair-flying, rock-star pitcher who brought fear to opposing batters and the quiet, conservative catcher who just went about his business.
Together they made for a perfect combo on the field and now they’re going into the Mariners Hall of Fame together today as a fascinating contrast of characters. Today’s game isn’t on TV, so if you want to see the induction ceremony, you’ll need to get to the ballpark or watch it streamed live on Mariners.com starting at 12:30 p.m., leading up to the 1:10 p.m. game against the Royals.
At a media gathering yesterday following a luncheon at Safeco Field honoring the two, Johnson joked about how he might have a “senior moment” and start rambling so long during today’s ceremonies that the game will need to be delayed.
Then moments later, he had a legitimate senior moment and started rambling on about something he clearly wanted to get off his chest, which was how he was perceived by some to have quit on the Mariners in his final season in ’98 before being traded to the Astros.
It was another fascinating look into the soul of a complex man. The question that sparked his response had simply been about how the “Mr. Snappy” nickname had been attached to his wicked slider. And Johnson, as he’s been known to do, took that and as he continued to talk, suddenly veered a totally different direction.
“The one thing that bothers me to this day is people thinking I tanked it when I left here,” he said. “I’ll be the first to say, on my dad’s grave, I never tanked it. Now did I get sidetracked because of contract negotiations and I wasn’t as focused? Absolutely.
“But if anyone knows me, that’s the same person who volunteered to come out of the bullpen 24 hours after pitching here and later in my career. I loved the game. I gave everything I had and I loved Seattle. Things didn’t work out in 1998. There’s different levels of my success. I went on to Houston, pitched 11 games and went 10-1. I never did that in Arizona. I never had two months like that in my career. Why? I have no idea. I won four Cy Youngs in Arizona; I never went 10-1 in any stretch in the four years in Arizona.
“So I know what it looked like [in Seattle]. This pitcher we expect a lot out of, now he’s below .500. People have to remember, I was dealing with a contract, things were a little blurry in my head, fuzzy. I’m going from a last-place team to a first-place team, the Killer B’s and Billy Wagner, I’m getting three or four runs of run support and I have a guy that can close out games.
“That’s not to say anything bad about my teammates [in ’98 in Seattle], but things just didn’t go well that year for me. Success is very funny. I look at all different levels. Here I had a lot of success, Houston I had great success for a short period of time, and then the pinnacle of my success was in Arizona, to win four straight Cy Youngs and be part of a memorable and historical World Series.”
Then Johnson went back repeated himself several more times, saying virtually the same things in what started to feel like a counseling session at times. He even realized himself this might not have been the time or place to get into this topic, saying there were lots of positives and not to even write about what he was saying about leaving. But then he went on again and clearly it was something he hopes fans in Seattle understand.
“I also wanted to stay here, and that needs to be cleared up, too,” he said. “I never wanted to leave…. Seattle means so much to me. It really does. No one knows how much except for my wife how much Seattle means to me. And there’s reasons because of being a young pitcher struggling and then being depended on. That’s a pretty powerful feeling – going to the ballpark, fans are counting on you, and your teammates are counting on you. And I got the first of that when I was here. That’s a pretty powerful and magical feeling.”
As Johnson went on and on, Wilson sat quietly beside him at the podium, watching and listening to his former teammate. Johnson said he’s reflected much more on his career now that it’s over. He didn’t allow himself to do that while he played, not wanting to get sidetracked.
He also acknowledged how difficult he was for others to deal with at times. But he said that’s what helped make him the competitor he was and he’d probably never have achieved the success he did without that personal fire.
Then he noted that it took someone like Wilson to understand how to deal with that intense flame and that he appreciated that now. And when the ramble ended, a bemused Wilson simply looked at Johnson and said, “Thank you.”
Two very different people. Two opposite personalities. But together they did some very special things and that they’re going into the Mariners Hall of Fame at the same time makes more sense to me now than ever.
One of the oft-mentioned, but rarely developed story lines of the Ichiro era with the Mariners was the group of Japanese journalists that followed his every move both in Seattle and on the road.
The trade of Ichiro to the Yankees changed more than just the Mariners lineup. It has made a discernible change in the media crew covering the team as well.
For the past 12 years, there have been more Japanese journalists at many games covering Ichiro than U.S. journalists covering the entire Mariners team. That was an oddity I never really got my head around, to be honest.
It’s hard enough covering a 25-player team and coming up with fresh story angles every day. To cover one player, on a daily basis, for a six weeks of Spring Training and then a 162-game season? I’d probably go crazy.
But these men and women did it for 12 years and many of them now are following Ichiro to New York, traded in their own way to a new market and new team.
It was an interesting dynamic, having the Japanese journalists in the mix. They were very quiet, for the most part, often standing silently in the back during interview sessions with the manager or other players and rarely asking questions. Most were hesitant because of the language difference to speak up in group sessions, but they’d interview Ichiro on a daily basis — sometimes with one pool reporter doing the interview and then sharing the quotes, sometimes with the whole group getting access.
I got to know some of the Japanese writers well, particularly the group that traveled with the team, and I’ll miss them. Masa Niwa of Sankei Sports, Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News and Nobu Kobayashi of Daily Sports are great guys, knowledgeable baseball writers and fun companions who have already headed to New York after a decade of working out of Seattle.
Asuka Iinuma Brown of Jiji Press is staying in Seattle, at least for the rest of this season, to continue covering the Mariners as Hisashi Iwakuma and Munenori Kawasaki remain part of the team. Asuka is typical of the group. She’s covered Ichiro since 2002, has established her home in Seattle and her son is headed to Western Washington University in Bellingham this fall to start college.
Others covering Ichiro this year have been Michi Murayama of Tokyo Chunichi Sports, Hideo Kizaki of Nikkan Sports, Koji Sasada of Sports Nippon and Taiko Stroud of Hochi Shimbun.
All these writers knew that Ichiro’s run wouldn’t last forever, but having him traded in midseason — totally out of the blue — left them in definite scramble mode. Those moving to New York are looking for places to live the next 2 1/2 months and wondering what will happen after this year.
Those staying behind in Seattle are more settled for the moment, but also know that next year figures to be a whole new ballgame.
There may never be another Ichiro in Major League Baseball as he was a pioneer, the first Japanese position player who wound up developing into a Hall of Fame-caliber outfielder. There will continue to be Japanese journalists, however, as groups are following Yu Darvish, Daisuke Matsuzaka and even Hideki Matsui last week when we were in Tampa.
There clearly is a large appetite for Major League Baseball in Japan and apparently a significant budget from newspapers and media outlets willing to keep journalists in a foreign country year-round to provide coverage.
How long that continues will be interesting to see. When Ichiro first came to Seattle, I assumed Japanese media outlets would cover his story initially and then pull back. And while the numbers did decline, they certainly never dwindled the way I expected.
Consider that the typical Mariners traveling party of U.S. media consists of Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune and myself from MLB.com, plus 710 ESPN radio reporter Shannon Drayer.
Since the death of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer a few years ago, that’s it. Yet somehow there is enough interest and financial support from Japanese media outlets that there’d normally be 5-6 Japanese writers traveling with the team on every road trip, just to cover Ichiro … and this year Iwakuma and Kawasaki.
Just as with U.S. media, that number grows for home games in Seattle. But now, that situation has changed. Ichiro is gone. And with him, a group of professionals who built their lives the past 12 years around telling his story to an audience that apparently never tired of the tale.
I was flying back to Seattle from Tampa when the trade of Ichiro to the Yankees went down. First I heard of it was when I turned on my cell phone after touching down at Sea-Tac. So instead of a travel day and night off, I had my wife drive me straight to the ballpark so I could help with our MLB.com and Mariners.com coverage package and to witness one of the stranger nights in team history.
Hectic as my day turned out, it paled in comparison to what many of my friends in the Japanese media face. The group of Japanese journalists who’ve been following Ichiro in Seattle for years — men and women who have made their homes in Seattle for a decade — suddenly are looking at picking up and moving to New York to continue the pursuit.
This is the magnitude of Ichiro in Japan, which I saw even more so in our week-long visit to Tokyo at the start of this season. Think about it. For a dozen years now, there have been as many or more Japanese journalists covering Ichiro in Seattle and on road trips than American journalists covering the entire Mariners team.
And now that he has been traded, they have essentially been traded as well. Crazy.
As for the deal itself? I’ve had lots of people ask why the Mariners would trade their iconic player and Future Hall of Famer for a pair of Minor League pitchers. And the answer is simple. Probably not as simple as the one the Mariners are giving, which is that Ichiro asked to be traded, so they accomodated.
That is part of the answer, but not all of it. Because the move helps the Mariners as well. They didn’t just do Ichiro a favor. They helped themselves by removing the overhanging issue of what to do with a declining star whose ties to Japanese ownership created an awkward situation for manager Eric Wedge and GM Jack Zduriencik.
If the club had felt compelled to re-sign Ichiro to a large contract and continue playing him in right field every day, they would have been continuing down the same path of making decisions that are based on things besides baseball.
The Yankees don’t have that issue. Manager Joe Girardi doesn’t have to worry what anyone thinks if he bats Ichiro lower in the lineup, as he already did last night by putting him eighth in the order. GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have to worry about being forced to re-sign Ichiro at the end of this year. He just got him as a rental player to see if there is any spark left.
My assumption is this two-month trial window will determine if Ichiro returns to the Majors next year. He’s opened himself up to other markets now, no longer tied to a young Mariners franchise where he didn’t fit with the rebuilding process or a lineup that desperately needs more power production from the right field spot, more oomph from its highest-paid player and more leadership from its most-tenured veteran.
And for the Mariners, they now have the freedom to rebuild their roster and set their lineup without the Ichiro factor forcing their hand.
Wedge hinted at that “Ichiro factor” the other day when asked if he considered using Ichiro as a relief pitcher in the 14-inning game when Miguel Olivo was warming up in the bullpen after the Mariners were down to their last available pitcher.
“Yeah, that would go over real good if I did that,” he said with a chuckle. “Just put my neck in the guillotine right now. I can’t fix it if I’m not here, you know what I mean?”
Wedge faced the same issue in making out the daily lineup, where penciling Ichiro in every game was expected. And as this season played out and it made more sense to give younger players time in the final months, that was going to be an increasing problem.
Many Mariners managers have dealt with the Ichiro conundrum, but Wedge is the first who has had to deal with it during Ichiro’s declining production. That wasn’t going to get easier in the coming months — or years if Ichiro had signed an extension.
So that’s why this move makes sense for the Mariners. And it makes sense for Ichiro, who I thought had grown stale in his Seattle situation and didn’t seem very happy the past two years. Every player gets old. No athlete yet has beaten Father Time. And few handle it perfectly.
I’ve been told by Japanese writers that even talking about age as an issue with Ichiro was taboo. But there is reality here and he’s not the same player he once was. Maybe there’ll be a spark in New York. He does seem able to rise to the occasion at times, but those times have been fewer recently.
In his last game with the Mariners on Sunday in Tampa, he dropped down a horrible bunt — right back to the pitcher — that got Casper Wells easily thrown out at third after Wells had led off with a double. On the heels of two bad throws the previous two games — one when he missed the cutoff man on the game-winning run in the 14th inning for the Rays on Friday and another when he received his first error of the season after forcing a throw that went wide of third and let Tampa score its lone run in Saturday’s 2-1 win — it was another bad moment for Ichiro.
But then we saw something different. Clearly irked at himself for blowing the bunt, Ichiro stole second. Then he stole third. In essence, he put himself on third after wiping Wells out of that spot … and then he scored the initial run on a double by Jesus Montero.
It was the impactful Ichiro we haven’t seen much of for awhile, the guy who could change a game with his speed and smarts. That’s the guy the Yankees hope they landed for the next two months.
And it’s the guy Mariners fans should remember when they look back at Ichiro’s career in Seattle.
Casper Wells is getting his first chance to lead off for the Mariners in today’s 10:40 a.m. PT game at Tampa Bay as Eric Wedge moved most of his available right-handers up in the batting order while giving struggling second baseman Dustin Ackley the day off against Rays lefty Matt Moore.
Wells hit leadoff twice for the Tigers last year — and ripped a leadoff home run off Ted Lilly of the Dodgers in one of those games — but has never been in that role in Seattle. But Wedge continues trying different hitters there while keeping Ichiro in the No. 2 spot.
“I’m giving Ackley the day, so with a left-hander on the mound I wanted to get a right-hander up top if we could,” Wedge said pregame. “So I just moved Montero up to the three-hole and the veteran Olivo in the four-hole. Moore’s never seen him before, so we’ll see if that does anything for us.
“Wells has been putting up competitive at-bats. Obviously it’s been a tough couple days offensively, so we’ll see if that triggers anything offensively.”
It can’t be easy for Wedge making out lineups these days, with Ackley hitting .156 in July and Smoak at .148. Both showed brief signs of life in Kansas City, but haven’t followed that up in Tampa.
“Inconsistent,” Wedge said of their progress. “Smoak has shown some signs from the right side, but still having some struggles from the right side. He’s looked better in BP. Ackley had it going there for a few days, but he’s had a tough couple days. I think it’s there, but they just haven’t been able to sustain it just yet.”
The club might be facing decision time with Smoak. Mike Carp’s 20-day Minor League rehab stint runs out Monday and he could take Smoak’s spot in the lineup and even on the roster if the Mariners decide to send Smoak down to Tacoma to straighten things out.
“I don’t want to speculate on that,” Wedge said. “I want to take it day-by-day. We’ll see how today goes and take it from there. Obviously we’ve got a lot of moving parts. We optioned Pryor yesterday, I want to see how Gutierrez’s [medical] exam goes tomorrow, we have to get Ramirez out. And Carp is obviously ahead of that. We’ll just take it day by day and see what happens.”
The one problem with Carp is he hasn’t been hitting particularly well in Tacoma, batting .218 in 14 games. Is Carp ready to return?
“He should be,” Wedge said. “He’s been playing a lot of first base. We’ll wait to the very end to completely evaluate and make a decision, but he’s been playing a lot of first base and getting a lot of ABs and that’s what you’re looking for. We’ll evaulate and make sure he’s healthy at the end and go from there.”
Carp can just remain on the 15-day disabled list after Monday without being recalled to Seattle, but wouldn’t be able to play in the Minor Leagues beyond that point.
Meanwhile, here’s today’s full lineup:
Casper Wells LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jesus Montero DH
Miguel Olivo C
Kyle Seager 2B
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders CF
Chone Figgins 3B
Brendan Ryan SS
Blake Beavan RHP
After two days of talking about getting John Jaso in the lineup against a left-handed pitcher, Eric Wedge finally delivered with Thursday’s batting order against the Royals’ Will Smith.
Jaso, who his hitting just .048 (1-for-21) against lefties, will start at catcher in today’s 11:10 a.m. PT game at Kauffman Stadium.
It’s going to be heated in Kansas City, where the temperature is expected to be 105 degrees at midday. Of course, it was 103 degrees at first pitch last night at 7:10 p.m. and still 94 degrees when I headed out of the park about midnight last night .But the direct sun figures to be pretty hot for the early afternoon game and we’ll see how much it affects the starting pitchers.
For the Mariners, that will be Felix Hernandez, looking to piggyback off his last outing, a three-hit, 12-strikeout, no-walk gem against the Rangers.
The Royals counter with Smith, a 23-year-old rookie left-hander who was just recalled from Triple-A Omaha. Smith went 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in three starts with K.C. earlier in the year.
One other interesting Mariners note this morning. While you were sleeping, the Tacoma Rainiers were pulling off a 2-1 victory over Sacramento in 18 innings. Infielder Scott Savastano finally finished off the 5-hour, 32-minute marathon with a home run in the bottom of the 18th. But the best part? Savastano also was the winning pitcher after throwing a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 18th.
Danny Hultzen pitched well for the first six innings in his best start yet in Triple-A, Stephen Pryor threw a scoreless inning of relief, David Pauley threw 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball and Mike Carp was 2-for-4 with a double.
Here’s today’s Mariners lineup as Seattle closes out its four-game series in K.C. before heading to Tampa Bay.
Dustin Ackley 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Casper Wells LF
Jesus Montero DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Justin Smoak 1B
John Jaso C
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS
Felix Hernandez RHP
Charlie Furbush was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained left triceps muscle and Steve Delabar was recalled from Triple-A before he even left Kansas City after being optioned Tuesday to open a roster spot for Blake Beavan.
Furbush was removed from Tuesday’s game in the seventh inning after feeling a twinge in his left shoulder muscle on the second pitch he threw. He then threw about 15 pitches in an indoor hitting cage after Tuesday’s game and didn’t feel any problem, then appeared to be OK playing catch on the field at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
But when pitching coach Carl Willis and trainer Rick Griffin had him follow that with 15 pitches off the mound in the cage again, he felt the discomfort return when he unleashed his final few throws at full speed.
“It was the last few when I amped up a little to see where I was at and I felt it again at the same spot,” Furbush said. “It wasn’t worse, it was just there. Just a little discomfort. Rick looked at me and he thinks it’s probably the muscles in that back area are fatigued and I just need to give it a break. Nothing serious, just take two weeks off and ready to go again.
“I just have to get better and be back before you know it. I see this as just a minor speed bump in the road. I’ll jus ttake it one day at a time and get back as soon as I can.”
Delabar hadn’t even left town yet and will rejoin the team immediately. Normally a player who is optioned can’t be recalled for 10 days, but that rule is waived if an injury replacement is needed.