Jason Bay’s hamstring improves, but he sits

Staff writerJune 20, 2013 

— Jason Bay was out of the lineup again, the fourth consecutive day he was unavailable to play.

But there is progress being made with his sore hamstring.

“It feels 10 times better today,” Bay said. “It’s the most marked improvement since it happened. It was really never bad to begin with.”

But it was just bad enough that Bay felt like he should shut things down before making it worse.

“It’s kind of one those, OK, it’s kind of tight now and it could be a couple days now or keep going and it’s a couple weeks later,” he said.

The injury, which Bay describes as “just tightness,” occurred when he was running to first base trying to prevent a double play in the sixth inning of Sunday’s loss at Oakland.

He didn’t think much of it when it happened and finished the game.

“You don’t notice it at the time because of adrenaline and everything, but with the flight here and you wake up the next day, and I was like, ‘Man, that’s stiff,’ ” Bay said.

Bay, 34, joked that his age hasn’t helped.

“Almost 35 doesn’t recover quite as fast as 25,” he said.

Bay has been working with trainers to stretch and strengthen the hamstring. It still bothers him when he runs. That’s why he hasn’t been available to pinch hit.

Bay said the problem is getting out of the batter’s box.

“I can’t promise (I could swing and take it easy out of the box),” he said. “ I don’t know if anyone can do that. You hit a high chopper and you try to beat it out for a hit to help the team. That would be the best worst thing for it.”

The hope is for Bay to be available this weekend in the series against the Oakland A’s.

RYAN’S DEFENSE

There’s been something odd about watching Brendan Ryan in the field – he’s making mistakes.

Amid all the brilliant plays Ryan makes that many other big league shortstops couldn’t field in their dreams, there’s been a surprising number of errors this season. He’s booted nine balls at shortstop, equaling the number of errors he committed last season. Other defensive measures say Ryan is struggling. He has an ultimate zone rating of -1.9. A year ago, he finished with a 13.8 UZR, highest among all shortstops.

So what’s the issue?

“I think he’s been at times overly aggressive and I think, at times, he’s sat back a little bit,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “One of his greatest attributes is reading the baseball and having a good tempo. I think he’s been better though the last three or four days. He just went through a little funk there.”

SHOPPACH RELEASED

The Mariners placed catcher Kelly Shoppach on waivers for the purpose of granting him his unconditional release.

Shoppach, 33, was designated for assignment June 14 to make room for free agent Henry Blanco. The Mariners signed the 41-year-old Blanco to serve as a backup and mentor to rookie Mike Zunino, whom they promoted from Triple-A and named the starting catcher.

Shoppach hit .196 (21-for-107) in 35 games this season with seven doubles, three home runs and nine RBI. Because of his major league service time, Shoppach could refuse any minor league assignment when he cleared waivers.

ON TAP

The Mariners open up a 10-day, eight-game homestand today Friday at Safeco Field, starting with a three-game series against the Oakland A’s. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (7-2, 2.06 ERA) will try to bounce back after suffering his second loss of the season, which came against the A’s. Oakland will send right-hander Bartolo Colon (9-2, 2.89 ERA) to the mound. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sport and 710-AM.

Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483
ryan.divish@thenewstribune.com
blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners
@RyanDivish

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