Mike Cameron retires as a Mariner
Former center fielder Mike Cameron, who threw out the first pitch Friday night, retired as a Mariner.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Former Mariners center fielder Mike Cameron might have bounced his ceremonial first pitch Friday night, but he still won over the Safeco Field fans.
Right after the pitch made it to Ichiro — his former outfield teammate — on one hop, it was announced that Cameron had decided to "retire as a Mariner." That sent the crowd into a prolonged roar of approval.
Cameron, 39, only decided Wednesday that he wanted to retire as a Mariner — having spent just four of his 17 major-league seasons with the club. He didn't have time to file the proper paperwork in order to officially retire as a big league player with the team.
But he did sign a one-day employee services agreement with the Mariners on Friday that allowed both he and the club to make the statement they did.
"When Mike told us that he would like to retire as a Mariner, we were excited and proud and wanted to make it happen for Mike," read a statement released by the team. "He was an integral contributor to the Mariners' success from 2000-2003, and is a wonderful representative of the Mariners and the game of baseball. We wish him and his family the best as he moves beyond his playing days."
placed on DL
Mariners relief pitcher George Sherrill went on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained flexor bundle in his left elbow. Sherrill, 34, had recurring problems with the elbow last year and had to end his season several weeks early.
He struggled throughout spring training and gave up home runs in his only two outings of the regular season. On Monday in Texas, he allowed a three-run homer to Ian Kinsler on a 3-0 pitch.
"George has been struggling a little bit physically and just having trouble getting over the hump," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
The DL stint is backdated to Monday's game, meaning Sherrill will be eligible to come off on April 25. But the Mariners have yet to say whether they believe he will be ready to try again at that point.
Charlie Furbush was called up from Class AAA in Sherrill's place and was in uniform for Friday's home opener. Furbush had worked two relief outings totaling four innings with Tacoma, allowing just one hit and striking out six.
"Charlie was the next guy up," Wedge said. "He did everything he could to make this team to begin with but we just couldn't make it work numbers-wise."
Mike Carp began a minor-league rehabilitation assignment Tacoma in Fresno, Calif., on Friday as he works back from a sprained shoulder suffered on opening night in Japan.
The Mariners, meanwhile, have yet to decide when Franklin Gutierrez will be ready to begin his rehabilitation stint. Wedge said the team will wait through the weekend then re-evaluate Gutierrez.
for young fan
The Mariners had a heartwarming surprise for 13-year-old Kyle Smerer at the end of the fifth inning. Smerer was participating in a Steal-A-Base contest where a contestant runs in from right field, grabs second base and has to race back through right field in a certain amount of time.
But unknown to Smerer, his father, Steve, a First Sgt. in the U.S. Army who grew up in Tacoma, was waiting for him out at second base dressed as a groundskeeper. His father had been deployed to Afghanistan and asked the Mariners a few weeks ago if they could help him surprise his son. Kyle Smerer had no idea his father was back in the United States for a special visit.
The family lives at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Cash registers malfunctioned in concession stands early in the game. When the problem with the software became more widespread, a decision was made to reboot the system in the fifth inning. Most of the registers were working again by the sixth inning and all were back online by the seventh inning.
"The Mariners are sorry for any inconvenience this caused fans on opening night," a team spokesman said. "We have no excuse. The fans didn't get the kind of service they should have."