Sasaki won’t pitch Sunday, his leg hurts

  • Saturday, August 25, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Cleveland Indians

When: 1:35 p.m.

Where: Safeco Field

TV: Fox Sports Net (cable)

Radio: KIRO (710 AM)

Pitchers: Seattle right-hander Aaron Sele (13-4, 3.60 earned run average) vs. right-hander Steve Woodard (3-2, 3.95)

Going without Kaz: Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki won’t be available for today’s series finale against Cleveland after he aggravated a thigh injury.

Sasaki left Saturday’s game with two outs in the ninth inning after his right thigh, struck by a line drive last Sunday in New York, became too sore for him to continue.

He said he’ll take today off and be ready to pitch again on Tuesday in Tampa.

“After two days, when we start the road trip, I’ll be fine,” Sasaki said.

Sasaki recorded his 39th save on Tuesday against the Tigers, but he was too sore on Friday to pitch in the series opener against the Indians. He received treatment on the thigh Saturday morning and pronounced himself well enough to pitch, but he hurt it again after throwing his first pitch to Omar Vizquel with two outs in the ninth.

It could render the Mariners’ bullpen thin today if starting pitcher Aaron Sele doesn’t go deep into the game.

“With the day off Monday, by Tuesday we’ll be at full strength,” manager Lou Piniella said.

Day of peril: Sasaki’s injury seemed significant, but the Mariners couldn’t match the health problems the Indians ran into Saturday.

Manager Charlie Manuel became ill in the clubhouse Saturday morning and was taken to Swedish Hospital in Seattle with a blockage in his colon. Doctors expect Manuel to remain in the hospital at least two days.

Indians starting pitcher Chuck Finley pitched two scoreless innings, but couldn’t come out for the third after suffering a strained muscle near his rib cage. And Indians cleanup hitter Juan Gonzalez was gone two innings later, the victim of a strained left hamstring.

Mister zero: Mariners left-hander John Halama continued to douse opposing hitters in the late innings Saturday when he pitched 2 1/3scoreless innings and recorded his ninth victory. Halama hasn’t given up a run in his last five appearances, a span of 13 innings in which he has allowed six hits and three walks.

Cameron’s Ks: Need a real-life example of the fast-changing nature of this game? Just look at the homestand Mike Cameron is having.

A week ago today, Cameron went 4-for-4 and tied a Mariners single-game record with eight RBI against the Yankees. He went 9-for-21 with three home runs and 10 RBI on the six-game Boston-New York road trip, and won the American League player of the week award.

Cameron went 1-for-5 Saturday to leave him 4-for-19 after six games of the seven-game stand. He struck out twice Saturday and has fanned at least once in his last five games.

The hottest month: The Mariners, who won 20 games in April and 20 in May, have five more opportunities this month to top that total. Saturday’s victory gave them a 19-6 record in August.

Hypothetically speaking: Ichiro Suzuki literally was sitting on a 21-game hitting streak when he didn’t start Saturday, and Piniella had hoped he wouldn’t need to use him as a late-inning pinch hitter that would risk ending the streak.

But what about using Suzuki as a pinch runner, which was a definite possibility as the game went into extra innings? Would he lose his streak because of that?

The answer is no. The streak would have remained intact as long as Suzuki didn’t get a plate appearance.

Suzuki leads the American League with a .350 batting average and has a new pursuer in second place. Cleveland’s Roberto Alomar went 0-for-3 Saturday and fell out of second place with a .343 average while his Indians teammate, Juan Gonzalez, is at .344 after going 2-for-2.

Coming attractions: Here are the pitching matchups for this week’s Mariners-Devil Rays series: Tuesday – Joel Pineiro (3-0, 1.86) vs. Paul Wilson (5-8, 6.12). Wednesday – Jamie Moyer (15-5, 3.67) vs. Tanyon Sturtze (8-10, 4.66). Thursday – Freddy Garcia (14-5, 3.33) vs. Ryan Rupe (5-10, 7.02).

Kirby Arnold

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