Grrrrr, that's the Tiger in front of Comerica Park.
As we go into today's game obviously two things stand out:
1. The status of Franklin Gutierrez.
2. The status of the rotation
UPDATE: Manager Don Wakamatsu also mentioned to us that Gutierrez is bothered by a sore neck, saying it was jarred a little when he slammed into the wall.
When asked if he felt lucky that Gutierrez only has bumps and bruises, Wakamatsu said: "Absolutely. The amount of time he spent on the ground, the initial collision -- I really thought he broke something. I was talking to Dave Niehaus earlier -- he kept looking for the cart. For him to be able to just walk off with help of trainers, that was a good sign."
He's a tough kid. The majority of his body took the brunt, not one single area. That's a blessing in itself.
The hope is still that Gutierrez will be ready on Thursday, but Wakmatsu is trying to be careful.
"I don't want to send him out there if he's not ready to go," he said.
Well, on the first aspect, we just saw Gutierrez briefly in the clubhouse.
When asked if he was sore today, he responded, "A little bit." And then before we could get another question in, he said, "I'm fine."
So that's that.
I will say he is walking normal with no limp.
We talked briefly with trainer Rick Griffin, who said that Gutierrez got to the field early and already had two treatments on his elbow and knee. He even rode the exercise bike.
Of the two, which concerns him the most, Griffin said it was Gutierrez's left knee.
"Probably the knee because he's trouble with it in the past," Griffin said.
In the moments after Gutierrez hit the wall, Griffin had thought he'd broken his collarbone or separated his shoulder, just by the way he was laying and keeping his left arm low.
So if Gutierrez says he's fine, then I'll believe him. But fine doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be in the line-up tomorrow. Griffin wouldn't give us a timetable on his return.
On the second aspect, the rotation is now likely in need of two starters, not just a fifth.
With Wakamatsu admitting that they are most likely going to take Olson out of the starting rotation, which will be good for the team and him as well, we are left with four viable starting options for two spots.
1. Chris Jakubauskas
PRO: He's started games before at the big league level, he's stretched out and has had some success.
CON: I don't know that his stuff necessarily rates as a starter. He's pretty effective only about once or twice through the order and not much more than that.
2. Ryan Rowland-Smith
PRO: He's pitching lights out for the Rainiers. In his last three starts, he's only allowed four runs in 21 1/3 innings pitched. His velocity is back up to 89-91 and he seems to have found his command with his offspeed pitches.
CON: The numbers he is putting up are at Triple A, not the big leagues. And the only start we've seen him at the big league level this year was the first week of the season.
3. Jason Vargas
PRO: He's had success as a starter this season. His command is a plus and he has four pitches he can use. HE's also stretched out and would be on proper rest for Saturday's start.
4. Brandon Morrow
PRO: The stuff is there. He has started games at the big league level with fair to average success and he's scheduled to pitch on Friday which would fit what the Mariners need.
CON: Everything that we've complained about Morrow in terms of fastball command, reluctance to throw his offspeed stuff, confidence in the offspeed stuff was still readily apparent in his first start with the Rainiers.
If I had to make an educated guess it will be one of the guys from Triple A and then Jakubauskas, you would only have to make the one roster move and slide Olson to the bullpen. If they were to bring up two players from the Rainiers, they would have to make two roster moves.
The Mariners are carrying 14 position players and 11 pitchers, so they have to make a decision, they could always place somebody on the disabled list and use the new "anxiety disorder" injury.
I'm not even certain of what the move will be for the extra starter. Do they send out Olson and stay at 11 pitchers on the staff? Or do they send out Shelton or Woodward and have a 12 pitcher staff.
You can see how bringing up a second pitcher would make things more difficult in terms of roster decisions. Almost certainly Olson would have to be sent down or to the DL if they bring up two players.
It will be interesting decision to see. We've heard that part of the reason for possibly pushing Bedard back to Saturday in his next start is so that he would be lined up to pitch in the series against Texas on July 30-Aug 1. He would set up to pitch Thursday July 30, the day before the MLB trade deadline.