Jeff Weaver pitched a simulated game Sunday morning and pronounced himself ready to start Friday at San Diego. Now it’s up to the Mariners to decide that for sure.
With 21-year-old Ryan Feierabend having pitched well again in Sunday’s victory over the Texas Rangers, the Mariners must decide if they will take a chance with Weaver on Friday or reward Feierabend for his effectiveness.
The decision won’t be made at least until today when manager Mike Hargrove returns after spending the weekend in Ohio to attend his daughter’s high school graduation.
Weaver, who went 0-6 before the M’s put him on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis, said he feels strong and was sharp in the simulated game.
“I felt stronger as I went on,” he said. “My sinker was working well, and my breaking balls were sharp. I’ve been antsy for about 10 days now. I’m ready to get back out there, no doubt about it.”
Feierabend is ready, too, although he knows that baseball economics – Weaver is making $8.325 million this season – may come into play.
“I don’t know what the future holds,” Feierabend said. “If I stay up here, it will be great. If not, I’ll go back down and get some work in until I get called back up.”
Lowe up: Injured pitcher Mark Lowe joined the Mariners on Sunday and will continue his rehab from elbow surgery with the team.
He will throw 35 pitches – fastballs and changeups – in the bullpen today with the catcher standing in front of the plate, then 35 more on Wednesday from the full 60 feet 6 inches.
He’ll travel with the Mariners on their 12-day road trip and could be close to returning when the team returns home late in June. If that happens, he’ll beat the early projections that he would return around the All-Star break.
“Right now, I feel great,” Lowe said. “My timing is there and my location is there.”
And, after spending all spring rehabbing at the Mariners’ training facility in Peoria, Ariz., getting back with the team is a major step forward.
“When I walk out on the field, I still get the chills,” he said.
Signage: Bench coach John McLaren, who ran the team while Hargrove was away, loves to play small ball and it was no surprise to see him call for a squeeze bunt in the sixth inning Sunday.
It reminded him of spring training years ago when Lou Piniella managed the team and the Mariners worked on the squeeze.
“We would always work on it at spring training, then Lou wouldn’t use it for three months,” McLaren said. “Then he would ask me what the squeeze sign is.”
Of note: Adrian Beltre tried to talk his way into hitting in Weaver’s simulated game, but the Mariners’ medical staff wouldn’t allow it. Beltre got a second day off after suffering a sprained left thumb Friday, when he rolled over it while attempting a diving catch. … The Mariners’ four infield hits Sunday gave them 68 this season, second most in the major leagues behind the Twins’ 80. Ichiro Suzuki leads the team with 17 and Jose Lopez and Jose Vidro have nine apiece. … Lopez is hitting .452 over his last 11 games.
Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer