The Mariners had to make a corresponding roster move when they activated Cliff Lee from the disabled list before tonight's game. But I would say that most of us were surprised to hear it was Shawn Kelley that was optioned to Triple A Tacoma and not Jesus Colome being designated for assignment.
Really had I or anyone else been paying attention, we might have noticed that Kelley's locker was empty. But to be honest, I was too busy enjoying the fact that Junior put on a "Montana Grizzlies football" t-shirt for pregame. Mark it down, he will get an extra base hit because of it.
Anyway, manager Don Wakamatsu listed a few reasons for the move.
It starts with the fact that Kelley had a Triple A option left, while Colome would have to clear waivers before he could be sent down. And Wakamatsu didn't feel that Colome would have cleared waivers.
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"Not a chance," he said. "You're talking about a guy throwing 97-98 miles per hour with major league experience."
One of the teams, who possibly might have put a claim in on Colome was the team the Mariners just finished playing - the Kansas City Royals, whose bullpen is awful, and seems to have no hope of getting better. Someone like Colome might be an improvement over, and certainly couldn't be worse, than Josh Rupe or Robinson Tejada.
"He might not have even left town," Wakamatsu said.
Or he might have. Colome does throw hard, and he has big league experience, but he has issues with his command and has cleared waivers a few times before. He's been with six different organizations.
Also Colome hasn't exactly thrown a ton. He has just three appearances since being called up and, He's pitched once in the last 18 days.
Kelley falls victim to the baseball cliche of "that's the bad part about having options left." When you have them, they can be used.
"It's a tough business," Wakamatsu said. "We didn't want to particularly make that move because he's pitching better and better. But he's pitching one out of every five or six days and I think at this time it's going to benefit him to go down and continue his progression."
Kelley, 26, appeared in 6 games with the Mariners this season, posting a 1-0 mark with a 2.57 ERA. In 7.0 innings pitched, he allowed 8 hits and 2 earned runs.
There was another corresponding move with the activation of Lee and that was the rotation. As expected and had been reported, Ian Snell was moved out of the rotation and into the bullpen.
"We called him in today and he was fine with it," Wakamatsu said. "He was on the radio last night talking about it. He was throwing 94-95 mph in his last start with a hard slider and competing was everything we asked him to do last start. But there's some guys in our rotation that we feel are pitching well and deserve to be in the rotation."
You can listen to that interview with Elise at Night .... here
While Snell's is fine with his move to the bullpen, Wakamatsu doesn't necessarily have a defined role for him. Obviously, he's stretched out enough to be a long relief guy. Kelley's role was a mid-innings guy with the ability to go 2 to 3 innings and Wakamatsu thinks Snell can handle that as well.
"You are still looking at trying to keep him extended as long as you can," Wakamatsu said. "It's a catch 22, if our starters are pitching well, we are not in need of a long guy. A lot is going to depend on when we put him in the first ball game and see what we get it out of it. If it's exactly what he did his last outing, we have a lot of flexibility to use him clear up to the probably to the eighth inning."
Speaking of the rotation, there has been some adjusting because of the upcoming offday on Monday. They readjusted it and gave Felix and Doug Fister an extra day off, in between starts. And it keeps Lee on regular rest. So Felix won't face the Rays.
So here is the upcoming starts according to Wak
- Tonight -- Cliff Lee vs. RHP Colby Lewis
- Saturday -- Felix Hernandez vs. LHP Matt Harrison
- Sunday -- Doug Fister vs. LHP CJ Wilson
- Monday, May 3 -- offday
- Tuesday, May 4 -- Jason Vargas vs. TBA Tampa Bay pitcher
- Wednesday, May 5 -- Cliff Lee vs. TBA Tampa Bay pitcher
- Thursday, May 6 -- Ryan Rowland-Smith vs. TBA Tampa Bay pitcher
- Friday, May 7 -- Felix Hernandez vs. TBA Angels starter
- Saturday, May 8 -- Doug Fister vs. TBA Angels starter