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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 18, 2008 6:14 PM

White knuckle time

Posted by Geoff Baker

anaheim1 013.jpg

R.A. Dickey seems just a little bored by all of this pre-game hype about his comeback, his knuckleball and everything else being said about him. Most of it good. Believe me, though, he is running a gamut of emotions today. When I talked to him last night, he told me it would be tough not to think about everything he's been through. And he has been through it.

Richie Sexson is in the lineup tonight, as is Jose Vidro, who fouled a ball off his leg last night. Brad Wilkerson sits again against the lefty. I asked manager John McLaren whether the strict platooning of Wilkerson and Willie Bloomquist will continue indefinitely and he said he isn't sure how long it will go. But he wants Wilkerson to start hitting and figures keeping him against righthanders for now will give him a bit of a break and help him find his stroke.

By the way, here's today's travel video on getting here from Oakland. You'll see the flight, the rental car pickup, the hotel and the drive up to the ballpark. Also, my chance meeting in the stadium parking lot with former big leaguer and Angels broadcaster Rex Hudler. He's a fan of the blog and reads it often.

I asked McLaren and trainer Rick Griffin about The Hardball Times article speculating that Erik Bedard had a torn labrum issue in his hip. McLaren said that as far as he knew, Bedard was coming along fine and that he wasn't up on all the technical medical terms coming out of Bedard's MRI. Fair enough. But Griffin is up on the terminology. Trouble is, he legally can't say anything about what is causing the inflamation in Bedard's hip. Thanks to HIPPA privacy laws, he is bound to secrecy unless Bedard wants to come out and tell the world exactly what is going on. Good luck. So, we'll see what happens next week. We'll all know soon enough whether this is a more serious issue than the team is letting on, or it really is just a stubborn case of inflamation, with no serious long-term reprecusions.

Hey, I can't beat it out of them. By the way, Griffin is aware of the THT article, as is the team's media staff and -- I asume -- the front office. But they're all keeping mum for now.

Until then, we've got Dickey.


Tonight's lineups:

MARINERS (9-8)

51 Ichiro CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
3 Jose Vidro DH
44 Richie Sexson 1B
2 Kenji Johjima C
16 Willie Bloomquist RF
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS

41 R.A Dickey RHP


ANGELS (10-7)

9 Chone Figgins 3B
24 Gary Matthews Jr. RF
27 Vladimir Guererro DH
16 Garret Anderson LF
48 Torii Hunter CF
35 Casey Kotchman 1B
6 Maicer Izturis 2B
44 Mike Napoli C
2 Erick Aybar SS

51 Joe Saunders LHP

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Posted by Faceplant

6:23 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"But he wants Wilkerson to start hitting and figures keeping him against righthanders for now will give him a bit of a break and help him find his stroke."

Keeping him in the lineup against pitchers that he hits worse off of is somehow supposed to HELP him find his stroke?

You've got to be kidding me.


"McLaren said that as far as he knew, Bedard was coming along fine and that he wasn't up on all the technical medical terms coming out of Bedard's MRI."

Wow. That was a dodge if I've ever hear one. Besides baseball one of my other passions is politics. And that is one of the funnier non answer answers I've heard.


"By the way, Griffin is aware of the THT article"

He's aware of the The Hardball Times article?

Isn't that like when people call ATM's "ATM Machines". Automatic Teller Machine Machines". LOL! Sorry, I jest.

Posted by Get Griffey

6:23 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"Hey, I can't beat it out of them."
LOL.....
....
OMG I fell out of my chair laughing so hard, too perfect Geoff, that why you are getting paid to write and we are just posters.^_^

Posted by AzMsFan

6:29 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Dickey will pitch well tonight although he could be a little nervous. Prediction Ms 5 Angels 3

Posted by Lonso

6:35 PM, Apr 18, 2008

If Bedard's hip is arthritic or anything else the article suggests, does Bavasi keep his job? And where would this rank in the history of poor Mariner trades?

Posted by -k

6:48 PM, Apr 18, 2008

First off, I can't say that THT is a cedible place to get news on injuries. Their sources on this case are less credible then Geoff's. it's all speculation based on 30 seconds of youtube footage where they examined his hip motion, and claim that he's "scouring" his hip. The problem lies in that many pitchers have similar motions, a topic they fail to addressin the article.

i fail to see the revelance of their analysis to Bedard's hip. This screems of being an unfounded "internet rumor." Treat it as such until a more reputable news source has anything to say on the issue. They might be right on this issue, but i for one will withhold any panic until there's reason to do so.

Posted by Adam

6:53 PM, Apr 18, 2008

-k - The gentleman who wrote the THT piece is a licensed sports physical therapist.

Posted by Bruce

6:54 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Geoff,
Keep up the great work. I was at the coliseum last night and alsmost stopped by to say hi.

It was a fun game to watch. Silva was on his game, throwing strikes and letting his defense do the work. Did any one notice Ichiro's catch in the 8th inning of the long fly ball off the bat of Emil Brown? I almost thought that was his second triple.

I'm looking forwad to RAD's start tonight. I hope we take two of three. Good news, Kendrick is not playing tonight.

Go M's.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

6:57 PM, Apr 18, 2008

And where would this rank in the history of poor Mariner trades?

Bavasi really is a bad GM. It finally took years of bad trades to change the popular opinion that he was the savior of the Angel's franchise. On occasion I am surprised by a good decision intermixed with ill-conceived ones. I actually believe the choice to draft Morrow over Lincecum will be talked about for the next decade and will agonize fans when Morrow doesn't live up to his draft slot.

I'm on the side of the opinion that believes the team only has a slim chance at the division with the way the team is constructed, and managed right now. It's hard to overcome the three main holes in the line-up, and expect a three man bullpen to hold up over 162 games.

I'm excited to see if Dickey lives up to his hype tonight.

Posted by Faceplant

6:58 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"First off, I can't say that THT is a cedible place to get news on injuries. Their sources on this case are less credible then Geoff's. it's all speculation based on 30 seconds of youtube footage where they examined his hip motion,"


Well, THT speculated that it could be arthritic, or a torn labrum. It was WIll Carroll who said his sources told him that Bedards injury has been diagnosed as a small labral tear.

I don't think anyone is taking this as the word, but it's certainly worrisome. And McLarens dodge of Geoffs question didn't inspire much hope. Let's all cross our fingers.

Posted by cesame

6:58 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"I asked manager John McLaren whether the strict platooning of Wilkerson and Willie Bloomquist will continue indefinitely and he said he isn't sure how long it will go. But he wants Wilkerson to start hitting and figures keeping him against righthanders for now will give him a bit of a break and help him find his stroke."

This is truly sad. Geoff, please, PLEASE show McLaren Wilkerson's splits. He hits LHP better.

This is truly amazing. The fact McLaren doesn't even Wilkerson' splits is ridiculous.

Posted by Daily reader, infrequent poster

6:58 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Lonso I think we should at least wait till the end of the year to make any judgements as far as "Worst Trades" go. Speaking of bad trades it looks like the Braves lost Soriano to injury again. Same story as when he was here. Some times these trades take to do determine winners and losers.

Loving the M's!

Posted by Zach C

7:00 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Faceplant-

I think its b/c left-handers see the ball better against RHP...its not about stats or trends, that stuff won't help him right now. The point is he gets the best chance to hit the ball. And do you really want him in there agains Saunders? I think its the correct move...

Posted by -k

7:00 PM, Apr 18, 2008

adam - Point taken, i didn't know that part.

Posted by Adam

7:01 PM, Apr 18, 2008

re: Bedard - This specific injury doesn't make the trade worse; it's just the fact that Bavasi knew Bedard had an injury history, and had never gone 200 IP, yet he still went through with it.


This is just an example of why the trade was a bad idea.

Posted by Faceplant

7:07 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"I think its b/c left-handers see the ball better against RHP...its not about stats or trends, that stuff won't help him right now. The point is he gets the best chance to hit the ball."


Sorry I don't follow the logic. Yes, the ball could be easier for him to pick up. But obviously it's easier for him to hit LH. It always has been. There is no reason to think that that suddenly changed.

Posted by Faceplant

7:09 PM, Apr 18, 2008

You're exactly right Adam. This shouldn't trade anyones opinion of the trade. The M's knew he had an injury history when they traded for him. That's the risk they knowingly took. Now they could end up paying for it.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

7:10 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Even Sims himself, a man never at a loss for words, stumbled on mentioning Bloomquist's name as the starting right fielder on tonight's line-up card.

Posted by zDawg

7:13 PM, Apr 18, 2008

I like starting R.A. Dickey for multiple reasons.

He has been good since last half of last year, and looked good in ST. He has looked good in AAA this year. He is not young, and is not in awe like a 21 year old. I have a very good feeling about his chances tonight.

If he does a good job against the Angels, is should be a boon to his confidence, boding well for the rest of the year. If he does good, continue to start him!

And, I like the fact Bavasi is doing something right for not a lot of money.

Posted by Faceplant

7:13 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Well, to be clear, I don't think sitting Wilkerson in favor of Bloomquist is the worst idea in the world. Bloomquist is a passable defensive RF, and hit kinda sorta okay against lefties last year. But I think it's ridiculous to panic and start platooning a guy because he had a bad two weeks.

Posted by Zach C

7:17 PM, Apr 18, 2008

You could make that argument...but sofar you reasoning is Mac's stupidity and I dont follow that logic. hes not hitting right now, easier doesn't mean anything. I think the best opportunity for him to get goin is against rigthanders... but I digress

Posted by Faceplant

7:33 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"hes not hitting right now, easier doesn't mean anything. I think the best opportunity for him to get goin is against rigthanders... but I digress"

Easier doesn't mean anything? Because he isn't hitting anyone, you think it's a smart idea to sit him against pitchers that he has hit better over the course of his entire career? Think what you want, but that argument makes little to know sense. The reason he's sitting against lefties is simple. Becuase that's how conventional wisdom says it should be played. But not every hitter is alike. Maybe he DOESN'T see the ball as well off of RH. Obviously there is something about LH that enables him to perfrom better against them.

Posted by Paul

7:38 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Just to jump in on the Wilkerson discussion - I think the driving factor is whether or not the M's brass is willing to consider that Wilkerson is not the answer. It's a lot easier for them to sit Wilkerson gradually and let somebody else step in and perform well than to keep sending him out there to play every day and struggle.

If they're fully committed to him, and think he's their guy for this season, it makes no sense to start platooning him now given his splits vs. lefties. Personally, I haven't been sold on the Wilkerson to begin with, so I don't mind getting Bloomie in there. At least he contributes speed and a consistent if unspectacular bat.

Posted by Zach C

7:44 PM, Apr 18, 2008

ur right, Mac's just ignorant...w/e

Posted by Faceplant

7:47 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"ur right, Mac's just ignorant...w/e"

No I explained myself completely. If you don't want to listen to it that's your problem. You don't need to be a complete ass about it though. There seems to be a lot of that going around lately on here. I didn't insult you, so you don't insult me.

Posted by -k

7:51 PM, Apr 18, 2008

Also to jump in late on the Wilkerson issue - I think it may have more to do with WillieB's success than Wilkie's success. WillieB hit's leftys much better than rightles, and thus is getting the start against a lefty.

It's not like Wilkie is hitting anyone, so it makes since to give his replacement an opportunity a be productive.

Posted by Zach C

8:00 PM, Apr 18, 2008

"Keeping him in the lineup against pitchers that he hits worse off of is somehow supposed to HELP him find his stroke?

You've got to be kidding me."

"The reason he's sitting against lefties is simple. Becuase that's how conventional wisdom says it should be played."

What are you implying with this then? souds like you dont think mac is getting it, like hes slow or ignorant. Am I wrong?

i didn't feel that I was being an "ass" or insulted you, if you read it that way I apologize

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