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Oklahoma tragedy affects Mariners coach Brown

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By Ryan Divish
The News Tribune
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Daren Brown remembers as a child, heading with his mother and father and sisters into the storm cellar of their ranch in Enid, Oklahoma, when the funnel clouds were coming.
One time he watched a tornado lift up the family barn off the ground and destroy it in its churning winds.
"It sounds like a freight train only louder," said Brown, the Tacoma Rainiers manager who is filling in as the Mariners' third-base coach.
For Brown, a proud Oklahoman, the tragedy in his home state where an F-4 Tornado destroyed the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, killing at least 24 people, still hits hard.
"Sometimes they just come out of the sky and they are gone," he said. "This one stayed on the ground for a long time and you see what kind of damage they can do."
Brown's hometown is about an hour from Moore and he has no immediate in family in the area. He has two sisters in Tulsa and another in Stillwater, but Oklahoma is a small enough state in terms of area and population that there is a sense of community among its residents and natives.
"It was a tough couple of days, Shawnee the first day and then Moore the next," he said. "It affects everybody. I grew up there and lived there most of my life. That's my home state. It's a terrible thing to see."
It's one of the risks in Oklahoma and other tornado belt states. It's also why people from around the state have rushed to Moore to offer aid in any way possible.
"If you've lived there long enough, you've seen one and you know what kind of damage they can do," Brown said. "It's why you worry when you hear about one being close to home."
Wedge talks Wilhelmsen
Mariners manager Eric Wedge was asked about Tom Wilhelmsen's growth as a closer, but then also started talking about Monday's debacle of a loss when his closer dropped the game-winning out at third base in the bottom of the ninth.
"Even after that play at first base yesterday, you talk about toughness, to be able to get back on the mound and keep the game where it was, that meant a lot to me," Wedge said. "It was one of the reasons I didn't think it was fair to send him back out that next inning. To ask him to do something he hasn't done this year, in a place where he was pitch count-wise. That's just not the right thing to do."
Wilhelmsen was at 22 pitches when Wedge decided to go to Charlie Furbush instead.
In 18 appearances this season, Wilhelmsen has pitched more than one inning just once -- two innings against Detroit on April 17 in a 2-1 10 inning loss, which was played at home.
Of the top 10 closers in the American League by saves, only Wihelmsen and Ernesto Frieri of the Angels have multiple-inning appearances.
So is Wedge opposed to using his closer multiple innings?
"Once you get into the season and you get a little deeper, I think you can let them be a one-plus guy," Wedge said. "I've had guys that had to be one-inning guys -- the (Joe) Borowski's, the (Bob) Wickman's back in the day. They weren't capable of doing one-plus. It was tough enough in the ninth. There will be point in times depending on his workload."
Story tags » Mariners

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