Well, it was thought that Doug Fister's removal from the game last night was precautionary when Jason Vargas blew up early, but it was something more.
Vargas was optioned to Triple A Tacoma, and the Mariners have selected Fister from Tacoma. Fister is technically "selected" because he's not on the 40-man roster, but a glance at the Mariners 40-man roster right now, only list 37 names, so they won't have to drop somebody from it.
"We had Jason Vargas in a little while ago," Manager Don Wakamatsu said. "It's never easy thing to send a player out. The discussion we had with him, in a short period of time he's been able to experience some success and some failure, and have the opportunity to learn from that. The plan of attack with him is to be able to go down and refine some things. I thought yesterday's game, where he gave up five in the first, yet came back, changed his style of pitching a little, going with some softer pitches, and the command -- using 61 pitches over the last five innings -- is more of what we're looking for."
It isn't surprising that Fister (right) was given this opportunity. Manager Don Wakamatsu mentioned him as a possible candidate for a spot in the rotation a few weeks back, when Vargas got moved in there.
Fister is 6-4 with a 3.81 ERA. I've watched him pitch, he's lanky at 6-foot-8 and his fastball is right around 90-92 as a starter, when he pitched in relief he could hop it up to 94. He has a slider that's decent and has pretty good presence on the mound.
He's a command guy that doesn't overpower hitters. But at 6-8, he does create some angles on the ball and can get some ground balls.
I've seen Fister when he's been really good - pitching seven innings, allowing six hits and one run against Portland with six strikeouts. I've also seen him get rocked by Las Vegas. But giving him an opportunity isn't a bad thing.
Fister wasn't in the clubhouse. The Rainiers were in Round Rock, Texas, so he's probably on his way back.
Obviously, the Mariners want to see something different after Vargas struggled yesterday. It isn't certain whether Fister will move into the rotation and take Vargas' spot and pitch on Tuesday against the White Sox. We'll wait to hear from Don Wakamatsu.
Also Erik Bedard was seen carrying the results of his MRI back to the training room, so we should get a report. A group of reporters tried to talk to him but he made a quick retreat to the back room.