Opponent: San Diego Padres
When: 7:10 p.m.
Where: Safeco Field
Radio: ESPN 710 AM
Pitchers: Seattle right-hander Brandon Morrow (0-3, 5.68 earned run average) vs. right-hander Josh Geer (1-2, 5.98).
Rest for the body, not the mind
Mark Lowe would never admit that his arm is tired and it needs a rest -- that's not what relief pitchers do -- but he did welcome the break when the Mariners had the day off Monday.
Lowe and fellow pitchers Sean White and David Aardsma, the Mariners' key late-inning relievers, are headed toward career highs in innings pitched. Any chance for a rest is good, although a day at a time is as much as Lowe prefers.
"Any time you can completely get a day off from throwing a ball it's always good for you," he said. "But mentally, it doesn't change. You're still thinking about it all day, thinking about things you can do to get better."
Monday, Lowe hosted the Mariners' annual charity golf tournament, an event he was proud to help put together.
"It was special because you're able to give back to the community," he said. "For me, it was very relaxing and very rewarding."
Not long after he got home from the golf course, however, Lowe's mind went back to baseball. He watched video of his most successful outings this season.
"I watched it so I could visualize myself being successful," he said. "The important thing was that I didn't take the day off mentally. I hate days off. It feels funny when I come back the next day. But I guess we kind of need it after all the throwing we've done."
Entering Tuesday's game, Lowe had pitched 32 2/3 innings, more than half the career-high 63 2/3 he threw last year. Aardsma had thrown 33 1/3 (his high was 53 with the Cubs in 2006) and White 34 1/3 (he threw 125 innings last year as a starter at Class AAA Tacoma).
Manager Don Wakamatsu has tried to ease the load on the relievers and knows it's important to keep them rested now in order to avoid a meltdown late in the season.
"We have been fairly careful," Wakamatsu said. "For instance, with Aardsma, if he has been used four out of five days, we make sure he isn't used that next day. You see some fatigue in these guys and when they get to that point we like to back them off a little bit."
Wakamatsu said it should help when Shawn Kelley returns from the disabled list, where he's been since May 6 because of a strained oblique. Kelley threw a 33-pitch simulated game Tuesday and probably will begin a minor league rehab assignment late this week with the Mariners' rookie-level team in Peoria, Ariz. He'll probably be activated the second week in July, Wakamatsu said.
The Mariners optioned left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith to Class AAA Tacoma, where he will continue to work on the consistency he needs to return to the big leagues. He had been with the Rainiers on a rehab assignment and, when the time period for that expired, the Mariners activated him and then optioned him. He'd started five games after recovering from triceps tendinitis, going 1-3 with a 6.92 ERA. He allowed 20 earned runs, although 12 came in one game. ... Pitcher Erik Bedard played catch for seven minutes and his shoulder felt fine. Wakamatsu said he expects Bedard to start one of the games next week in New York. ... Second baseman Jose Lopez is expected to return today from Venezuela, where he spent five days with his seriously ill sister before she died. He probably won't play until Thursday. ... The Mariners want Kenji Johjima catch nine innings in the minor leagues before they bring him back from the disabled list, and that could happen by the end of the week. Johjima started Tuesday night for Class AAA Tacoma and is scheduled to catch nine innings Thursday. He's been on the DL since May 26 because of a broken toe.
Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.