The Seattle Mariners have nine right-handed relievers in their bullpen this month, and one of them is Chance Ruffin, a second-generation big leaguer acquired as the player to be named in the Doug Fister trade.
When all those righties sit together in the bullpen, they talk. And Ruffin listens and learns.
“I’ve learned how to pitch different guys, the patience of big-league hitters, clubhouse etiquette,” Ruffin said. “I listen to (bullpen coach) Jaime Navarro, Jamey Wright and my dad.”
Oh, dad. That’s Bruce Ruffin, who spent 12 years pitching for Philadelphia, Colorado and Milwaukee. How often do they talk?
“Probably every other day, and whenever I pitch, he’ll call the next day,” Ruffin said. “He’ll offer a little advice, talk about my mechanics. After the Indians game, when I walked three guys, he said, ‘You’re rushing your front side, and when you do that, your arm drops. You’ve got to get back on top of the ball.’
“When I get the same advice from my dad I get from (pitching coach) Carl Willis, I can be pretty sure they’re right.”
Ruffin has also learned from his fellow rookies, talking to them about shared experiences.
“We’re all here, learning together,” Ruffin said. “If one guy knows something, we share it.”
In seven games with Seattle, he’s 1-0 with a 3.68 earned-run average. Opponents are batting .250 against him.
If you want to watch rookie Michael Pineda pitch again this season, you might want to come out today. After this start, he has only one left before the Mariners shut him down. He’s at 159 innings, and the team is prepared to let him go about 175. … Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen may be stretched out and made a starting pitcher next spring, but as an eighth-inning set-up man, he’s found his niche. Over his last seven appearances, he’s thrown 10 shutout innings. Wilhelmsen’s offseason project: A change-up. … Rookie of the Month for August, Mike Carp is in a 3-for-27 stretch and was given the night off.
Seattle hosts Kansas City in a 7:10 p.m. game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Kansas City’s Felipe Paulino (2-10, 4.60 ERA) vs. Pineda (9-9, 3.74).