By Larry LaRue The News Tribune
KANSAS CITY — Officially, the Seattle Mariners starting pitcher for tonight’s game is a mystery, though one major clue came when right-hander Blake Beavan — who last pitched with Tacoma — flew here Monday on the same plane as a beat writer.
The Mariners are short one starter, Erasmo Ramirez, because of a strained right elbow, and he’ll miss at least one and probably two more starts. And Seattle sent down Hector Noesi, giving right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma his spot.
Tonight? It’ll be Beavan, the 23-year-old right-hander who went 3-6 with a 5.92 earned run average in 12 starts with Seattle earlier this season.
With the Rainiers, Beavan has gone 4-0 in six starts, forging a 2.61 ERA in the Pacific Coast League.
As for Ramirez, he’s thrown one bullpen session so far, will throw one or two more and then, according to manager Eric Wedge, begin a one-or-two-start rehabilitation assignment.
Verdugo to make MLB debut
The Royals are expected to start left-hander Ryan Verdugo, a graduate of Lake Stevens High School, in tonight’s game.
Verdugo, who was brought up from Class AAA Omaha, will make his major league debut.
Kiss and tell
To the delight of teammates, Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan did a live interview with the Intentional Talk crew on the MLB network Monday.
Ryan drew laughs in the clubhouse with several of his answers, but said later he felt his appearance was a bit flat and needed “a big close.”
He had one.
Asked to do impressions of Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken, Ryan obliged. When he was asked to do Jack Nicholson, the infielder changed up and said he’d rather do late Cubs announcer Harry Caray.
Then, saying he hoped the story was “appropriate,” Ryan did his Caray impression by talking about a couple in the stands smooching all game.
“I get what’s happening,” Ryan said. “He’s kissing her on the strikes, she’s kissing him on the balls.”
Appropriate or not, the story killed Mariners players.
Right-handed hitters step up
Facing the first of three left-handed starters Monday, Wedge managed to get five right-handed hitters in his lineup.
“It’s going to be a challenge, because we’re left-handed heavy offensively,” Wedge said. “We need some of these right-handed hitters to step up and produce, take some pressure off our left-handed hitters.”
In the first inning, right-handed hitter Casper Wells hit a three-run home run, Jesus Montero singled and then Justin Smoak — batting right-handed — homered for a 5-0 lead.
Franklin Gutierrez is traveling with the team and worked out and hit in a covered batting cage Monday. Today, the Mariners will let Gutierrez shag fly balls and take batting practice. If he responds well, Gutierrez could begin a rehabilitation assignment by Friday. … Facing three consecutive left-handed pitchers here against the Royals, Wedge started right-handed hitters Montero at catcher and Miguel Olivo as the designated hitter. Today, expect John Jaso to fill one of those spots. … Add Olivo: His 16 runners caught attempting to steal this season leads the American League. … How many leadoff hitters does it take to play 91 Mariners games? Six. Ichiro Suzuki, Dustin Ackley, Chone Figgins, Jaso, Michael Saunders and Ryan. Last season, they used to — Ichiro and Figgins.
Larry LaRue, The News Tribune