Manager Don Wakamatsu said he hasn't made a decision yet on whether Jason Vargas or Doug Fister or both of them will have starts skipped next week.
"We probably won’t make a decision until we get back home," he said. "We will continue to have dialogue with those guys. It won’t just be our decision. A lot of it will have to do with what’s best for them, what’s best for the organization."
Both Fister and Vargas have struggled in their last two starts and Wakamatsu thinks it may be signs of fatigue. Vargas is on pace to pitch more than 50 innings higher than he ever has before, while Fister has already missed time with a tired shoulder.
While Vargas wouldn't admit to feeling fatigue, which didn't surprise Wakamatsu.
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"It’s human nature with players, they want to go out and compete," he said. "The last thing they want to do is say they don’t want to go out there and play. That’s our decision. That’s what we’re in charge of, to basically see if we can get the most out of them long term."
But Wakamatsu and pitching coach Rick Adair have ways of determining it without a player telling them.
"Numbers in general," Wakamatsu said. " But also Rick does a phenomenal job of tracking certain things over a course of a ball game, whether it’s velocity, whether it’s location of pitches. A lot of times you can kind of start to see that if guys start to elevate pitches that it’s not just mechanics, but sometimes it is fatigue.
"But then again we are all aware of the amount of innings that pitchers amass. Again, we are trying to get as many starts for the whole year out of all our starters. Whether it’s individual pitch count on a daily basis or start, or whether it’s as we chose with Fister trying to get them some time when we think they needed it."
The lineup has a different look with Milton Bradley getting a day off and Russell Branyan at DH and Casey Kotchman at first.
"We have a lot of guys with fatigue in their legs and we’re trying to rest them up," Wakamatsu said. "I think you’re just looking historically with some of these guys, whether it’s Russell with his back, Milton with his legs. We talked about that clear back in spring training, to be able to get as much production as we can out of them. We’re just trying to be proactive with some of this stuff."
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Russell Branyan DH
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Casey Kotchman 1B
- Jack Wilson SS
- Rob Johnson C
- Michael Saunders LF
LHP Cliff Lee (7-3, 2.45 ERA)
- Austin Jackson CF
- Johnny Damon DH
- Magglio Ordonez RF
- Miguel Cabrera 1B
- Brennan Boesch LF
- Ryan Raburn 2B
- Brandon Inge 3B
- Gerald Laird C
- Danny Worth 2B
RHP Jeremy Bonderman (4-5, 4.36 ERA).