Remember when the Mariners drafted Josh Fields with their first pick last June and there was talk that he’d be in the big leagues before the season was over? Agent Scott Boras’ signing demands not only took care of that, it cost him all of last season. And now, Fields may be paying the price.
He has been shut down at Class AA West Tennessee because of what the Mariners are calling “dead arm.” Fields, 1-0 with one save and a 6.00 ERA, hasn’t pitched since May 5. He has begun a throwing program and the Mariners expect him to be pitching in games again soon.
“He’s fine,” said Pedro Grifol, the Mariners’ minor league director. “We were going to give him 10-14 days (off). He’s in his throwing program and he’s feeling really good. There’s no hurry on him; the key for us is for him to finish the season.”
There seems little doubt that Fields’ long period of inactivity after the draft last summer is connected with his situation now. He didn’t sign until late February and went directly into the big-league spring training camp.
Grifol credits Dave Wallace, the Mariners’ minor league pitching coordinator, with recognizing the need for Fields to be shut down before he suffered a more serious arm issue.
“Dave has been in this game a long time and he IDs guys when they need a rest,” Grifol said. “It was time for Josh. He’s an extremely, extremely hard worker who went through all of spring training, and every time he goes to the ballpark he goes about his work with 130 percent effort. He hit a little bit of a wall and we just shut him down a little bit. He’s on a throwing program and he’ll be back pretty soon.”