Mariners Insider Blog

Pregame Notes: Guess who's back?

No not Erik Bedard, though he did throw today.

No not Carlos Silva, though his wife did have her child and he'll join the team in Anaheim.

No not Adrian Beltre, he's out for a few days after having an MRI on his thumb.

I'm back, after a little bit of a hiatus from the Mariners and this blog. Let me tell you the time spent away was far from scintillating. Driving five hours to Pullman to cover a 66-3 whupping wasn't enjoyable by any means. But for the next few days, my focus will be back on the Mariners. Besides if this guy can make a comeback, why can't I.

Ok, let's get to some pregame notes.

First of all Wednesday's starter is listed as TBA as in "To Be Announced" or could it be the "The Bullpen Association" because that's what will be taking place on Wednesday. Manager Jim Riggleman use a bullpen by committee start. If you remember John McLaren did this once earlier in the season and I believe Ryan Rowland-Smith started the game and a host of relievers followed after.

So Riggleman will use Cesar Jimenez, Randy Messenger, Jared Wells, Mark Lowe, Roy Corcoran, Jake Woods, and the ilk to handle the innings.

Why do this?

Well, Riggleman wants to give Brandon Morrow the extra day rest and he also wants to get some of those bullpen guys some work. That's why he won't start R.A. Dickey or Miguel Batista. He'll use all those other guys instead.

That takes care of that....

In other news ... Adrian Beltre had an MRI on his ailing thumb. As most of you, Beltre has played the entire season with ligament damage in the thumb. It hasn't gotten substantially worse pain-wise according to Riggleman, but it was a little sore as of late. Also the Mariners decided to be a little proactive with this MRI. They want to see the extent of the damage and see if and when surgery should be done, giving Beltre the best amount of recovery time that will get him ready for next season.

Riggleman said he'll be out the next few days.

As for some other injury and absence related info, as I said up above, Carlos Silva is in Minnesota with his wife, who just had their second child. Silva will join the team in Anaheim, throw bullpen sessions on Thursday and Saturday and start Monday against Kansas City.

Jarrod Washburn was supposed to play catch today, but Riggleman had no other info on him.

Erik Bedard threw today off the mound, and seemed in good spirits. However don't expect him to be back pitching soon.

"We won't really know until he airs it out," Riggleman said. "And he's not ready to air it out yet."

Also from the Mariners today....The Mariners re-upped their affiliation deals with Tacoma, Everett and Pulaski.

There was some rumors circulating in Tacoma that the Mariners might try to set up shop in Portland, taking the Rainiers out of T-Town. Minor league director didn't deny that the possibility was considered, but the Rainiers are at least back for another year.

Class A High Desert and Wisconsin have not yet been renewed and most likely will not. No word as to where those teams will go.

Here's the release ...

MARINERS EXTEND WORKING AGREEMENTS WITH THREE MINOR LEAGUE AFFILIATES AAA Tacoma, Short-A Everett and Rookie Pulaski Extended to 2-year Agreements

SEATTLE, Wash. - Seattle Mariners Director of Player Development Greg Hunter announced today extensions of the Player Development Contracts with their minor league affiliates in AAA Tacoma, Short-A Everett and Rookie Pulaski. The Player Development Contracts, which would have run out at the end of the 2008 season, have been extended to cover the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

"We are pleased to be able to extend our Player Development Contracts with our affiliates in Tacoma, Everett and Pulaski through the 2010 season," Hunter said. "The proximity of both Tacoma's and Everett's facilities to Seattle has been a great asset to our organization and is also a nice opportunity for Mariners fans to see some of our younger players in action."

The Rainiers and Mariners first entered into a Player Development Contract prior to the start of the 1995 season. In 14 seasons as the Mariners Triple-A affiliate in the Pacific Coast League, the Rainiers have a 1031-969 (.515) record. The Rainiers completed the 2008 season with a record of 80-64, including a PCL-best 31-14 mark after the All-Star break. The Rainiers, who finished 3.5 games behind PCL Pacific North Division winner Salt Lake, were nearly unbeatable at home during the last part of the season, going 20-2 at Cheney Stadium, including 13 consecutive wins during one stretch. The team finished with its third 80-win season in 25 years and it improved over the previous season by 12 games.

"I'm very excited that we've linked up once again with our Pacific Northwest partner for another two seasons," Rainiers President Aaron Artman said. "Our relationship has only grown throughout the years and I know for our fans to see the Mariners stars of tomorrow it only adds to their great overall ballpark experience."

The AquaSox have been affiliated with the Seattle for 14 seasons, becoming the Mariners affiliate in the Northwest League on September 12, 1994. Last season Everett went 32-44, finishing fourth in the Northwest League West Division. In 14 seasons as the Mariners Short-A affiliate, the AquaSox have a 504-558 (.475) record. Everett won the West Division with a 44-32 record in 2002.

"We are very happy about the two-year extension of our Player Development Contract with the Seattle Mariners," AquaSox General Manager Brian Sloan said. "Our affiliation with the Seattle Mariners is definitely the most important business relationship we have. It has been very exciting to see some of the Mariners stars of today start their careers in Everett, such as Felix Hernandez, J.J. Putz, Jose Lopez, Jeff Clement, Bryan LaHair and Willie Bloomquist."

Seattle and the Pulaski Mariners also extended their working agreement through the 2010 season. The Mariners finished the season 40-27 and won the Appalachian League East Division title, but lost to Elizabethton in the League Championship Series. Baseball returned Pulaski in 2008 after not having baseball in 2007. Pulaski last fielded a team in 2006 when it had a player agreement with the Toronto Blue Jays, but the relationship ended after that year. The Mariners are the fourth organization to field an Appalachian League team in Pulaski.

With the addition of Pulaski to the Mariners Minor League System in 2008, Seattle was the only team in the American League and one of three teams in the Major Leagues (also: New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals) with nine farm teams. The 2008 season concluded with the Mariners farm teams going a combined 441-450 (.495), including five teams finishing with a record above .500. The West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx and the Pulaski Mariners both made the post season this year, but both lost in the first round of the playoffs.