Mariners manager Eric Wedge said that Brandon League will "get to watch a big league ball game" today. It's a phrase he likes to use when he is giving guys a day off. And League could certainly use one. Yes, the Mariners basically had the last two days off because of rainouts. But it's not quite the same.
Wedge said that Jamey Wright will likely be his interim closer for tonight's game should such a situation arise. Wright has been one of the Mariners better relievers this season, but he's never had a save in his 16-year career, but he does have 11 blown saves.
Wedge was emphatic that League is still his closer.
"It's every bit about the team," he said. "Ultimately what I think everybody needs to understand, we were in every ball game. We had the nice little stretch prior to that. We get a break here or there and you guys would have been coming out here like gangbusters talking crazy stuff about us right now. It was tough week."
Wedge has had to deal with closers struggling before. When he was in Cleveland, he had Bob Wickman as his closer in 2005 and Joe Borowski as his closer in 2007.
"We didn't have very many 1-2-3 inning saves with those guys," he said.
Wickman saved 45 games, but had a penchant for walks in bad situations. And he also gave up 57 hits in 62 innings pitched.
Borowski, who didn't have anywhere close to as good of stuff or velocity as League, saved 45 games, but his ERA was 5.07 ERA and gave up nine homers in his 69 appearances.
Wedge said Franklin Gutierrez will be back up at Safeco Field tomorrow. He's with the Rainiers right now and is supposed to play nine innings in center field tonight. Gutierrez will have tomorrow off and fly home and meet with the Mariners medical staff. It was asked if Gutierrez could be with the team sometime next week.
"It could be," he said. "It could be. I don't want to get ahead of myself. We've been here before. Let's let him get through tonight and we'll chat with him tomorrow."
Here's the lineup for today. Neither Jack Wilson or Brendan Ryan is in it. You have Luis Rodriguez at shortstop and Adam Kennedy at second base. Carlos Peguero is starting in left field.
- Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
- Chone Figgins (S) 3B
- Justin Smoak (S) 1B
- Jack Cust (L) DH
- Miguel Olivo C
- Adam Kennedy (L) 2B
- Carlos Peguero (L) LF
- Luis Rodriguez (S) SS
- Michael Saunders (L) CF
RHP Michael Pineda (4-2, 2.84 ERA)