M's Notebook | Putz's arm 'tightens' after bullpen session
The much-anticipated bullpen session for Mariners closer J. J. Putz had gone well. Putz had thrown 25 pitches, mostly fastballs. All of them off...
Seattle Times staff reporters
PEORIA, Ariz. — The much-anticipated bullpen session for Mariners closer J.J. Putz had gone well.
Putz had thrown 25 pitches, mostly fastballs. All of them off a mound for the first time in 10 days. But the problems for Putz began once he headed to the clubhouse.
"He went through the session this morning and came out of it fine," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said after a 5-3 loss Thursday night to the San Francisco Giants. "After he got in the clubhouse, his arm tightened up on him a little bit. We'll know more about it [today]."
The Mariners, 4-12 in Cactus League play after also dropping a 9-3 decision to the Chicago Cubs earlier Thursday in Mesa, are facing the possibility their top reliever might not start the season on time. Hargrove declined to say whether Putz was scheduled to see a specialist, though trainer Rick Griffin said earlier that the pitcher would be "re-evaluated" today.
After playing catch twice earlier in the week, Putz had been pleased with his progress. But losing him for any length of regular-season time would be a major blow for a Mariners squad lacking any obvious replacement candidates.
Putz was dominant last year after replacing Eddie Guardado as closer on May 6. He led all American League relievers with 104 strikeouts (in 78-1/3 innings) and saved 36 games. After the season, Putz signed a three-year, $13.1 million deal.
The club had three scouts watching San Francisco's Armando Benitez earlier in the week. Benitez is believed to be on the trading block.
Brandon Morrow had been duly impressive for the Mariners in his first two spring appearances, but he was aware that in both cases, he was facing largely minor-leaguers and marginal players.
That changed Thursday at HoHoKam Park against the Cubs, when Morrow faced the heart of a very good order.
So far, so good. Morrow, Seattle's No. 1 draft pick last June, added two more scoreless innings to his ledger. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed just one hit — an infield single on a slow roller by a badly fooled Alfonso Soriano, the $136 million man.
"This was the first time I've faced legit big-leaguers," Morrow said. "I've been throwing at the end of games and facing guys after [starters] have been taken out. It was good to face some of those guys."
Legit, indeed. Morrow fanned three Cubs hitters, including Derrek Lee, who hit 46 homers two years ago. He also struck out Jacque Jones and Mark DeRosa, and shattered the bat of All-Star Aramis Ramirez while inducing an easy ground out.
In five innings this spring, Morrow has allowed two hits and no runs while striking out six.
"I've only got 15 professional innings so far, so I don't know how they feel about that, or whatever," he said. "But I think I've been throwing the ball real well and definitely have opened up some eyes."
Weaver on target
A glance at the scoreboard explained why Jeff Weaver appeared so unfazed by a first-inning home run he'd just given up in the night game.
That's because the Mariners pitcher had jumped ahead 0-2 before Pedro Feliz of the Giants took him deep to left. Weaver had previously allowed a 1-2 pitch to be lined to right field for a Kevin Frandsen single.
For a guy who had struggled to find the strike zone his previous two spring outings, the two-run homer by Feliz represented progress. Weaver nearly yielded another homer on a double off the top of the wall, but rebounded to retire 10 of the final 11 batters faced in his best Seattle outing to date.
• Jose Guillen was scratched from Thursday night's lineup against the Giants because of sore ribs. He had been scheduled to play right field, but was replaced by Mike Morse.
The injury is not believed to be serious, and Guillen hopes to be back in the outfield by the weekend.
• It wasn't the most memorable night for Mariners reliever Sean Green. In fact, the pitcher achieved the rare feat of allowing the final eight batters he faced to reach base.
The only reason Green was allowed to stay in as long as he did was because he escaped the seventh inning on a pickoff throw to first by catcher Rob Johnson. Green had already allowed a Chad Santos solo homer, a walk and a hit batsman that inning before Johnson's arm came to the rescue.
But after his team tied the score in the bottom of the seventh, Green opened the eighth by walking a batter and then allowing four consecutive singles and two runs.
• Green's misfortune turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Aaron Small, who replaced him with the bases loaded and none out in his first outing of the spring. Small had previously been sidelined with back stiffness, but made the most of his opportunity by getting a shallow fly ball to right, a strikeout and a fielder's choice groundout to end the threat with no further damage.
"Absolutely the perfect place to bring a guy in for his first outing of the year," Hargrove quipped.
Thursday's Game 1
|Seattle (ss)||Chicago (N)|
|Bloomquist 3b||3||0||1||0||Soriano cf||3||2||3||0|
|Reed lf||4||0||0||0||Pie cf||1||0||1||0|
|Johjima c||3||0||0||0||J.Jones rf||4||2||2||1|
|Rivera c||1||0||0||0||Theriot rf||0||0||0||0|
|Broussard dh||4||0||0||0||Lee 1b||3||0||0||0|
|LaHair 1b||3||1||2||0||Ward 1b||1||1||1||0|
|A.Jones cf||4||0||0||0||Ramirez 3b||3||1||1||2|
|Garciaparra 2b||3||1||1||0||McGehee 3b||1||0||0||0|
|Balentien rf||4||0||1||1||Floyd dh||4||1||2||3|
|Ordonez ss||3||1||1||0||Hoffpauir pr||0||1||0||0|
|Seattle (ss)||020 010 000||--||3|
|Chicago (N)||303 000 03x||--||9|
|Lilly, W||3 2/3||4||2||1||1||1|
Thursday's Game 2
|San Francisco (ss)||Seattle (ss)|
|Ellison cf-rf||5||1||2||0||Ichiro cf||4||0||1||0|
|Frandsen ss||5||1||2||1||Jones pr-cf||1||1||0||0|
|Lewis lf||4||0||1||1||Beltre 3b||4||0||3||0|
|Feliz 3b||3||1||1||2||WBalntn pr-lf||1||0||0||0|
|WBergolla 2b||1||0||1||0||Vidro dh||2||0||1||1|
|Klesko 1b||3||0||0||0||Ibanez lf||4||0||1||0|
|Timpner cf||1||0||0||0||Wilson rf||0||0||0||0|
|Santos dh||4||1||1||1||Sexson 1b||4||0||0||0|
|Leone rf-1b||3||0||0||0||LaHair 1b||0||0||0||0|
|Alfonzo c||2||0||0||0||Clement c||3||0||0||0|
|GRodriguez c||1||0||0||0||RJohnson c||0||0||0||0|
|DLRosa 2b-3b||3||1||1||0||Morse rf-3b||4||0||0||0|
|S. Francisco (ss)||200 000 120||--||5|
|Seattle (ss)||020 000 100||--||3|
|Misch, W||2 2/3||2||1||1||1||2|
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.