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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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April 2, 2008 3:19 PM

Oh oh: Putz on DL

Posted by Larry Stone

Just got a press release from the Mariners informing us that J.J. Putz has been placed on the disabled list with a rib injury. Turns out that he felt discomfort last night on a pitch to Michael Young in the ninth inning. Putz actually struck out Young, but then gave up a two-run homer to Josh Hamilton.

When Putz was still sore after the game, the Mariners ordered a precautionary MRI exam for today, which revealed that he has something called mild costochondritis on his right side. That is described as inflammation where cartilage attaches to a rib. Right-hander Roy Corcoran was called up from Tacoma to take Putz's spot on the roster.

Yikes. This is a huge blow for the Mariners, obviously. It will be manageable if Putz is just out short term, but if the injury lingers for any length, they are losing one of their major strengths.

There will be a press conference shortly to get more details. It will be interesting to see who will be named the fill-in closer. Could be George Sherrill, could be Rafael Soriano. Oh, wait. Never mind. My guess is Mark Lowe, because he is a power pitcher, but they could also go with the famous "closer by committee" setup, and hope that Putz is just out for 15 days.

We'll find out shortly. For now, you all have permission to worry.

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Posted by Nat

3:30 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Actually,RoyCorcoran from AAA has been called up.

This explains why Putz, our stalwart closer, gave up a run already!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

3:30 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Sweet cracker Christmas! Shades of when Felix went to the DL last year!

*returns to ledge, sucking thumb*

Who the heck is Roy Corcoran? Is that a pronounciation of "R.A. Dickey" we were previously unaware of?

Posted by Brian

3:31 PM, Apr 02, 2008

People will wonder about pitching two days in a row in the cold weather, this early in the season. That shouldn't be a factor, since he pitched two days in a row during SP, and other pitchers have pitched two straight days early in the season. But I know some will blame McLaren.

Posted by Donovan

3:37 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Brian - Undoubtedly some here will blame McLaren when their 401(k) plan tanks, but that was clearly a closer situation last night. Can you imagine the mad dog howling if someone else had come in and given up the winning runs?

I have a feeling this season is going to be some kind of roller coaster.

Anybody have an intelligent thought about Roy Corcoran?

Posted by Rod

3:40 PM, Apr 02, 2008

I can't imagine Corcoran being thrown right into the heat of a closers role. I'd say Lowe is the obvious choice, with Corcoran there to fill in in other situations if needed.

Posted by Brian

3:42 PM, Apr 02, 2008

I agree that last night was a situation JJ should have been used, and he is a closer, and should be used two nights in a row.

But people may still blame McLaren, as we all remember what happened to Lowe a few years ago.

Posted by Simon

3:43 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Corcoran's not going to close - he's just taking the roster spot. Geoff think Lowe will be the most likely to sub as closer.

Posted by Nat

3:43 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Chris, his ERA is projected to be 11.12. Not that ERA means anything!

Posted by oregongal

3:45 PM, Apr 02, 2008

I gave a five-game spread in my preseason prediction. Is it too late to reduce that to 85-88 games?

Donovan, this optimism stuff about the M's is already turning my hair gray. Can I go back to my natural state of pessimism?

Posted by Ben

3:50 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Well i had just gotten used to being away from the ledge again... i blame Sexson. He is obviously to blame for this.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

3:50 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Well here is a link to the stats on Corcoran:

Now will someone please explain why Dickey isn't coming up?

Posted by Pete

3:51 PM, Apr 02, 2008

I was at the game last night, and when McLaren started trotting out the same pitchers he did the night before in that weather, in a game WE WERE LOSING at the time, I thought, "Hmmm, interesting tactic. Never seen that one before."

Of course, the M's were ahead by the time Putz entered the game, so it wasn't really McLaren's fault.

...But every other great M's bullpen has had a righty-lefty combo for games they were winning, and a righty-lefty combo for when they were behind.

For instance, RH Morrow and LH Sherrill were used in games they were ahead last year; O'Flaherty and Green were used in tie games and those in which they were behind. (* Green was promoted to ahead games later in the year)

I wondered aloud why McLaren would run out O'Flaherty and Lowe again when the game was tied and behind. We gonna use our best guys in every game, regardless of the score Mac? How's that gonna work out?

Not saying it's Mac's fault Putz got injured, but the weather and the score (not to mention it being the second game) should have factored into his decision-making.

Losing Putz for even two weeks is a huge blow. As Geoff mentioned, we don't have a single reliever who's made an opening day roster, let alone has .experience closing major league games.


Posted by dc

3:51 PM, Apr 02, 2008

If I'm Dickey, I'd be p.o.'d right now. He was basically last to be cut, he should be brought up. He showed that he can devour innings. That serves well while waiting for Putz to heal. He could eat up a ton of innings so McClaren can nurse his way through the 9th with two or three pitchers if he needs to.

What is it going to take for a minor leaguer in the Mariner organization to be given their opportunity in the bigs?

Posted by Donovan

4:00 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Oregongal - Yeah, I used to have more pepper than salt in my hair. You think optimism could be the reason? And here I thought the only risk was my (natural born pessimist) wife smacking me for always looking on the bright side. Maybe I should try some of that pessimistic hair coloring....

The war of attrition is on in the AL West. Guess maybe our starters are going to have to shift gears from "scrappy" to "dominant". One thing seems certain - all that handwringing over the opening day roster was probably over the top. I can foresee a lot of roster moves this season.

Posted by Frankie

4:01 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Uhh Geoff, I think that last column's title should be void now....

The window is WIDE open now!!!

Posted by gus stills

4:01 PM, Apr 02, 2008

If we call up Dickey for two weeks and then send him back down, doesn't he have to go back through waivers? I would think we're still exploring trade options involving Baek in the interim? I think this should be viewed as a pure business decision, and we should be glad this had nothing to do with JJ's arm...could have been a lot worse. Go M's!

Oh, and if anyone is interested in reading a book that covers the M's, check out my new novel:

Posted by Scout

4:02 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Can we drop the gratuitous Soriano-trade bashing now? He wasn't the second coming, anyway. Raffy gave up 12 dings in his relief outings last year. Too many. Lowe is a guy with better makeup.

Posted by oregongal

4:05 PM, Apr 02, 2008

This is another one of those things that wouldn't be a big deal if we had some reliable offense.

I just hope JJ doesn't try to come back too soon because he knows how much the team needs him. This would be a good time to go on a winning streak. You know, while we're playing the likes of Texas and Baltimore.

Posted by jujay

4:08 PM, Apr 02, 2008

pete- no idea what you are talking about, we were winning, not losing, and it was a close game. I still dont think EOF was the right choice, but putz was

Posted by Nat

4:08 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Geoff (or Larry) re: Dickey staying put in AAA for the time being: is that b/c he would be out of options otherwise?

Posted by oregongal

4:10 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Since he hasn't pitched yet, how about Batista as closer? Or if JJ's out for a long while?

Posted by Mariner's Fan in Hawaii

4:16 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Perhaps I overlooked a comment regarding this but everyone was down on Putz and Sexson last night but what about O'Flaheretty (sp)? He gave up three hits to three lefties. Now if you are the left handed specialist...that isnt very special.

Posted by Nat

4:21 PM, Apr 02, 2008

It really seems like it might be too much of a pressure situation to put Lowe in as closer, him coming off rehab such a short time ago. It will be interesting to see what they do though. Like you say, oregongal, this would be a great time for whatever offense there is to kick it into a higher gear about now!

Posted by northamericanscum

4:23 PM, Apr 02, 2008

I hope you all enjoy watching baseball, and not just complaining about it. I'll complain about Putz, Sexson, and McClaren if we are six games out in the middle of May. Until then, relax, crack open an adult beverage, and enjoy the beginning of the season.

Posted by bruce

4:30 PM, Apr 02, 2008

the reason corcoran was called up and not dickey is the position you need to fill now is lowe's assuming he is the new closer. dickey is stricty a long relief guy, your starters are still hopefully getting you into the seventh inning so there is no reason to carry both baek and dickey in the bullpen. corcoran will be used as righthanded situational late inning relief, what lowe was there to do. i would imagine the next guy they will look at to fill that role would be morrow

Posted by Get Griffey

4:36 PM, Apr 02, 2008

(pans out from close-up of face to reveal.... dum dee dum dum DUUUM...The Precipice of Doom)


Posted by ethan

4:37 PM, Apr 02, 2008

thats the problem. we worry. The Angels dont. Mike Scioscia has drilled in his team to only worry about yourself. Take care of the things you can control.
no wonder the Mariners have been a rusty and broken tanker run aground for 31 years. bunch of individuals.

Posted by Get Griffey

4:39 PM, Apr 02, 2008

I Get down when JJ Gets back!

Posted by AKMarinersFan

4:44 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Are the Mariners not the favorite to win the west anymore? That didn't last long..

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:47 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Bruce - I thought the other advantage to Dickey was not just b/c he could do long relief, but b/c has a rubber arm and could be used a lot night after night after night. Which fits for setup guy.

Is rib inflammation contagious? If so, can JJ accidentally wrestle with Sexson? (Kidding.)

Posted by -k

4:50 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Here's my guess:

Batista to closer (he's done that very well in the past) and Baek to rotation.

Also, now would be a good time swing the Baek and Reed for Edwin Jackson (or whoever) trade. then stick Jackson in #5 slot.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:52 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Hush, Eeyore.

Posted by cesame

4:52 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Now the M's have an excuse as to why they didn't make the playoffs at the end of the year. They'll blame it on bad luck with Putz's injury and that the slow start in the beginning of the season hurt. Not the fact that this is a poorly constructed team with a lot of holes.

The Mojo is Risin'.

Posted by Stranded_Mariner

4:58 PM, Apr 02, 2008

I think the rotation will stay as is -- no reason to panic two days into the season and make a rash trade to plug a temporary hole (like Jackson to fill the #5 spot while Batista would close).

Yes, Batista has closed, but remember we have some good arms who can take care of things til Putz comes back. Mark Lowe is my guess, and if JJ is out for a while, don't forget we have Morrow getting it together down in the minors. Obviously none of them is a JJ Putz, but who is?!?!

Posted by AKMarinersFan

5:00 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Batista as the closer. That's just what we need.a closer who loads the bases and hopes for a double play.

Maybe we could trade Clement, Balentien, and anyone else that we have left of value to the O's for Sherill.

Posted by bruce

5:00 PM, Apr 02, 2008

here i just posted this at the forum hope its not too iritating to put it here as well...

everyone wants to reshuffle the whole deck everytime there is an issue. your going to make starters into relivers and relivers into starters in order to fill your closer role now? a baseball team wins over a season by keeping everyone's role as consistant as possible. lowe is your closer now, corcoran takes lowe role in the bullpen and as soon as morrow is ready he takes corcoran's

it isn't so much that i am defending it but more that is how managers think, you have a problem with the bullpen why mess with the starting rotation as well? you could end up with problems with both of them...

in terms of dickey in late relief, maybe he would be fine but again i can't imagine a manager going to a knuckleballer in the eighth inning of a one run game. goes against too much of the culture of baseball

Posted by Frankie

5:03 PM, Apr 02, 2008

To make this loss not seem too big, the M's need to call up Rhodes and Morrow for the bullpen, and then move Lowe to the closer's role. Then, when Putz comes back, send Rhodes back down unless he is doing well, which in that case, they should send Morrow back down.

As for the offense, I say Ken Griffey Jr would be a good #3 hole DH for us. I wonder what it would be like to have him on our team ;)

Posted by Frankie

5:06 PM, Apr 02, 2008

As for tonight's game, McLaren flat out cannot use EOF or Lowe tonight. I don't care if it's a closing situation or not. Lowe can't be used tonight. I say Silva goes 6+, RRS takes over for the remainder of the innings up until the 9th, and have Green take over in the 9th.

Posted by ajdaddy

5:07 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Holy crap. Can Dickey close?? :-) How about Sherrill...oh right. Or Soriano...oh yeah. Hey, it's really nice out! Yeesh.

Posted by Babu

5:13 PM, Apr 02, 2008

For those looking for AJ updates, he just collected his first hit (a single) and his first run as an Oriole, bottom of the third against Tampa Bay.
from Babu in Baltimore

Posted by scottM

5:26 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Make Batista our closer until JJ gets back. Let Baek be our fifth starting pitcher until then.

O'Flaherty sucked as bad as Sexson last night.

When I saw Sexson on strike three it had the markings of a long, long season. Where was any hint of plate discipline. Had the look of a close-your-eyes and swing as hard as you can. Deja vu from '07. A very, very ugly deja vu.

Both Sexson and Wilkerson need to relax. The role model there is not veteran Cairo, but young clutch Yuni Betancourt. Just RELAX.

Hamilton in CF was the player of the game, defensively and offensively. Robbed Wilkerson with a great catch. Didn't close his eyes and hope when he swung at that fastball.

Weird game.

The M's need to focus on winning each series. That starts tonight.

Posted by Pete

5:29 PM, Apr 02, 2008


The game was TIED when he brought in EOF.

They were BEHIND when he brought in Lowe.

AHEAD when Putz came in.

Re-read my post before you say have no idea what I'm talking about.

In plain English, my post says: "...the M's were ahead by the time Putz entered the game, so it wasn't really McLaren's fault."

I was at the game. Look at the line score to confirm if you'd like.

Posted by BrianL

5:31 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Brian -

Lowe was not injured by overuse in 2006. He had a genetic defect in his elbow that required surgery to compensate for. The fact this didn't manifest years earlier in his career is nothing short of a minor miracle.

Posted by scottM

5:32 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Hey FRANKIE. It's only game two and GEOFF's blog already wrote a headline for you!!

How's that for celebrity status?

There will be no ledge leaning if we win the rubber game tonight.

Posted by MarinersPRDept

5:37 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Lowe was not injured by overuse in 2006. He had a genetic defect in his elbow that required surgery to compensate for. The fact this didn't manifest years earlier in his career is nothing short of a minor miracle

Prepared by the Mariners PR department Summer 2006...

Posted by Pete

5:42 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Also for jujay:

Yes, Putz was the right choice at that point. I acknowledged that.

My post was regarding the use of EOF and Lowe when the score was tied or behind.

In previous strong M's bullpens, there has been a righty-lefty combination for games when ahead, and another for games when the team is tied or behind.

In 2007 (Putz closer):

AHEAD: RH Morrow, LH Sherrill

BEHIND: RH Green, LH O'Flaherty

In 2001 (Sasaki closer):

AHEAD: RH Nelson, LH Rhodes

BEHIND: RH Paniagua, LH Charlton

There has been a similar set-up in every successful Mariners bullpen in the past several years. Obviously, there has been a flexibility there, but that has been the general rule. You can think I'm idiot if you like, but you're wrong.

All I was saying is that I would have expected to see the 2nd lefty in a tie game (especially with EOF having pitched the night before). Now, maybe Mac doesn't think RRS can handle getting key lefties out in a tie game. If he doesn't, then the bullpen is in trouble.

Posted by ricofoy

5:54 PM, Apr 02, 2008

The pain of costochondritis mimics that of a heart attack. JJ must have been relieved with this diagnosis. Weird..usually no cause and no treatment. Lasts a week or 2 and then goes away. Hopefully, this won't become a recurring thing.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

5:55 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Rhodes & Marrow are not ready. We'd end up with 3 on the DL.

This is exactly why you put every game you can in the Win column when they are handing them to you. The hell with this cavalier it's only game 2 BS!

We score some of the LOB's and JJ stays in the bullpen under the heat lamps. Warm & healthy for when he's needed. Instead we roll him out into the freezer again for a 2nd save against the lowly Rangers because we have no offense.

I think it would be good for Sexson to sit tonight! Put MM on 1st. What he's going to play worse D than Ritchie did last night? Play Sexson on the road away from the Boo Birds & if he isn't hitting and ready for the Angels when they come home send him down. Who's going to claim him???

Go M's!

Posted by Digger

6:03 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Roy Corcoran? Roy Corcoran? Shades of Jason Davis, John Parrish, and Rick White (who got a combined 30 appearances last year--all abysmal). Why does Bavasi continue to hope other teams' cast-offs can help the Ms? Ouch.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

6:05 PM, Apr 02, 2008

Sorry, meant Morrow.

Go M's!

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