Opponent: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
When: 4:15 p.m.
Television: FSN (cable)
Radio: KOMO, 1000
Probable starters: Seattle left-hander Bobby Madritsch (2-0, 3.00 earned run average) vs. right-hander Jorge Sosa (3-0, 5.36).
Soriano still ailing
A season filled with bad news for the Seattle Mariners carried a bit more Wednesday, when the team learned that relief pitcher Rafael Soriano has elbow problems again.
“He was supposed to pitch in Tacoma (Tuesday) and didn’t, because he’s had some soreness in his right elbow,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’ve had to shut him down indefinitely.”
Scheduled to pitch back-to-back games with the Rainiers, Soriano – on the disabled list most of the season – is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Twice, already, injuries have cost him and the team.
“We’ve missed him badly,” Melvin said. “In spring training, we had him penciled in to the eighth-inning right-handed setup role, and that’s a job we haven’t been able to fill all year.
“As it stands now, we’re all in a wait-and-see mode. Rafael will see our doctors again and we’ll go from there.”
Learning to pitch: The grooming of rookie pitchers requires patience and a transition of sorts, as prospects realize that what got them to the major leagues is usually good enough to keep them there.
“You’ve got to trust your pitches, not be afraid to throw them for strikes,” Clint Nageotte said. “I think the first time I was up, I was scared. These are great hitters. But if you don’t throw strikes, you’re beating yourself.”
In a relief appearance Tuesday, Nageotte looked wobbly again – then righted himself. He walked four batters in the time it took him to get four outs, at one point walking the bases loaded.
“I’ve worked my entire life to get to the major leagues, and I can’t let something as silly as not throwing strikes keep me out,” Nageotte said. “I just locked in at that point and pitched.”
And for two innings, he didn’t allow another base on balls.
“It was the first game of a doubleheader, it was hot, and I’m making our guys stand around in the heat while I throw ball one, ball two, ball three?” Nageotte asked. “I had to turn things around, and I did. I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Villone angry: A little show of temper during the doubleheader Tuesday nearly turned into a pre-game brawl Wednesday, when Mariners pitcher Ron Villone and Baltimore infielder Melvin Mora had to be kept apart by a mass of humanity during batting practice.
A day earlier, Villone and Mora had exchanged words. As the Mariners were stretching in foul territory along the third-base line, Mora approached the group and said something to Villone – and suddenly both men were shouting and moving toward one another.
Mariners veterans Edgar Martinez and Bret Boone grabbed Villone, and Miguel Tejada hung on to Mora, and much shouting and pointing of fingers ensued. Then both sides went back to what they’d been doing.
David Segui later had a prolonged conversation with Villone before the left-hander headed to the outfield.
“He’s just upset, that’s all,” Segui said without elaborating.
Let Willie play: Though he doesn’t have a full-time starting job at any one position, Willie Bloomquist is hitting so well the team keeps finding a spot in the lineup for him. On this trip, he’s played shortstop, left field and third base – and gone 7-for-18 and stolen three bases.
By Larry LaRue, The News Tribune