By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
“I’m the fifth Casper Wells — Casper Charles Wells Jr.,” he said Sunday morning before starting in left field for the Ma riners against the Tampa Bay Rays. “My dad has the same name. It was around before the cartoon, so the friendly ghost jokes can be put aside. I don’t hear them that much from the away fans. Sometimes they say I should thank my parents for naming me that. But I’m the fifth, so take it up with my great great grandfather.”
Wells went 1-for-4 Sunday in what manager Eric Wedge says will be the first of many starts as the Mariners evaluate their young outfielders the rest of this season. Wells is thankful for the opportunity after playing much of this season in a backup role with the Tigers.
“With the (situation) you’re placed in with a team that’s doing well like Detroit, you have a limited role with some of the guys they have,” he said. “I feel like I have an opportunity to play a lot more here. (Wedge) said he wants to get a good look at me. That’s all I ask for, just to get an opportunity.”
Wedge will have a challenge to find equal playing time for young outfielders Wells, Mike Carp and Greg Halman. He said Wells also would play center field, and that Carp probably would get some games at first base.
Eager, but not quite ready, to start
The trades of starting pitchers Erik Bedard and Doug Fister have created a temporary vacancy in the Mariners’ rotation, and newly acquired left-hander Charlie Furbush says he is ready to fill it.
Problem is, Furbush hasn’t started a game since early July and needs to build up his arm before the Mariners give him a start. He pitched an inning of relief Sunday, allowing a home run to Sean Rodriguez in the eighth.
“We’ll kind of take it a day at a time and go from there,” Furbush said. “I’d like to say I could start right now. But at the end of the day, they’re probably going to stretch me out at least a couple of times before they put me in the rotation.”
Furbush and Wells lived in the same apartment building in downtown Detroit, and Wells said he took an elevator ride and banged on his buddy’s door Saturday to let him know they’d been traded.
“I found out when I was watching television,” Wells said. “I didn’t get a phone call. I was eating breakfast and almost spit my food out. I rode the elevator and knocked on Charlie’s door and said, ‘Hey man, we’re going to Seattle.’ His phone started blowing up from people texting him, saying ‘Good luck.’ He’s saying, ‘Good luck for what?’ He didn’t know what was going on.”
Reliever Shawn Kelley said his right arm felt good after he pitched a scoreless inning Saturday night at Class AAA Tacoma in his second rehab outing since suffering a setback. He’s coming back from elbow surgery last year and expects at least one more outing with Tacoma this week. … Sunday was the 31st game this season the Mariners have been limited to no more than one run. That includes four times in the past eight games. … Since being recalled from Class AAA Tacoma, Mike Carp is batting .349.