By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SEATTLE — The imprint of baseball stitching lingers on the right elbow of Seattle Mariners pitcher Blake Beavan.
It is a reminder — along with considerable tenderness — of the spot where he was hit Monday by a Miguel Cabrera line drive, which put him out of the game in the third inning.
Still, Beavan sounded pleased with the improvement he was noticing by Tuesday, and wasn’t yet ready to concede he would miss his next scheduled start Sunday in New York.
“I’m going to do everything I can to try to get back,” he said. “But I don’t want to come back if I’m not 100 percent, because that wouldn’t be good for the team. It’s something that you don’t want to rush if it’s serious. But if I can go, and I feel 100 percent, I’m going to go.”
If Beavan isn’t ready, manager Eric Wedge said that turn in the rotation could be taken someone currently with the Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers or by Hisashi Iwakuma, who replaced Beavan on Monday.
Iwakuma went three innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out five — and impressing his manager.
“I liked the way he came out and just used all of his pitches right away,” Wedge said. “He was aggressive, he pounded the zone and he had good stuff.”
Iwakuma didn’t have to come in until the top of the fourth, because Cabrera’s shot took its bite off of Beavan’s elbow and continued on with enough speed to be turned into an inning-ending double play.
“That’s what I was telling the other guys: I sacrificed my body for the team,” Beavan said. “I think that was a big part of the game right there. If they would have scored a run, who knows: Maybe another run after that. Thankfully, my elbow could get in the way to deflect a Miguel Cabrera single up the middle.”
Beavan admitted the ball reached him so fast that he didn’t really have any choice in the matter. However, he said it was a point of pride to walk directly to the dugout without pausing to even rub the elbow.
“I don’t try to be like a tough guy or anything, but I’ve got a high pain tolerance I guess you’d say,” he said. “I grew up playing football. I’ve been hit a lot worse. I can take some pain. I dealt with it. I didn’t really feel the pain until I got in the tunnel and they started feeling around and saying ‘Does this hurt? Does that hurt?’ That’s when it started hurting.”
That 3-2 win over the Tigers on Monday ended with John Jaso’s first career walk-off RBI. It also was the Mariners’ first walk-off sacrifice fly since Jose Guillen’s on Sept. 14, 2007. And if it lacked the drama of a walk-off hit, the player’s postgame celebration didn’t show it. “It was fun to see them out there,” Wedge said. “I enjoyed seeing them out there celebrating their win.” … Tuesday marked the Mariners’ 15th annual Education Day, where players were part of assemblies at five grade schools in the Greater Seattle area. … The Tuesday night game marked the 3,204 game managed by Detroit’s Jim Leyland — 15th-most in major league history.