Brandon Morrow will start the season in the Mariners bullpen – and both he and the team want him to be the closer.
Manager Don Wakamatsu said Morrow has no chance to start in the rotation in April, and that the young right-hander will throw at least three more times out of the bullpen this last week of spring.
Why did the Marinrs change their mind? They didn't - Morrow did.
"I really wrestled with starting or closing, and the bottom line is that after J.J.(Putz) was traded I wanted to close," Morrow said. "But I'd made such an issue of wanting to start, I didn't want to go back on that. Two weeks ago, I knew. A week ago, I told them."
Morrow went to pitching coach Rick Adair last week and volunteered to close, then told the manager the same thing - making the decision far easier for Wakamatsu to deal with.
"I feel at home again. I feel like I belong in the bullpen, and I was to be the closer," Morrow said. "I think I was built for the bullpen."
The only thing Morrow needs to prove now is that he can close regularly despite diabetes, a disease that can rock him unexpectedly. On Sunday, for instance, Morrow's blood sugar level was high and his energy level down.
Barring an unforeseen physical problem, it's his. Morrow has the arm, the experience and the hunger.Mark Lowe, David Aardsma and Roy Cocoran will move to setup roles in the bullpen and rookie Shawn Kelley is being viewed as a middle reliever.
For now, though, the Mariners think they've found their closer.