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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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June 11, 2008 1:04 PM

Morrow to the rescue; Putz has sore elbow

Posted by Geoff Baker

J.J. Putz walked the leadoff batter in the ninth, then got to 1-2 in the count on Vernon Wells before the training staff jogged out to the mound. Putz appeared to slightly favor his elbow (he does, see update below). Brandon Morrow came on from the bullpen, the count ran full on Wells and then the reliever blew him away with 97 mph heat.

Caught Matt Stairs looking at a 96 mph fastball for out No. 2.

Lyle Overbay then drove one to the warning track in left, but Raul Ibanez hauled it in. Tight-collar time there, but the M's and Morrow hold on for a 2-1 win. Great outing by Felix Hernandez.

OK, I'm now back from downstairs in the clubhouse and can tell you it was indeed elbow soreness that drove Putz from the game. Putz himself didn't have much to add, saying he'll wait until Friday -- after the elbow is examined by doctors on the team's off-day tomorrow.

Mariners manager John McLaren also wasn't going to speculate much about the immediate future.

"We're just going to have to play it day-by-day,'' he said. "It's his elbow.

"I saw him a couple of times grabbing his elbow and going like this,'' McLaren said, shaking his arm for emphasis. "It just sent a red flag up.''

McLaren pulled Felix Hernandez from the game because he'd told pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre after the seventh inning that his calf muscle was acting up again. Hernandez pitched one more frame in the eighth and then was done.

"I didn't finish the game becaise of my leg,'' Hernandez said. "The seventh inning was long and my leg was getting tighter and tighter.''

So was Morrow's chest in the ninth as that opposite field fly ball by Overbay headed towards the fence.

"I thought that was gone for 98 percent of the flight of the ball,'' Morrow said. "I thought Raul (Ibanez) was just going to watch it go over the fence.''

Instead, Morrow had his first career save. Could get a few more before the month is done. Putz hasn't looked right for a while. His command has been off and was off again today when he walked the leadoff batter. His elbow was "barking" and he came out. He doesn't know if this is similar to what plagued him in spring training of 2007. Like I said, he'll wait and see.

For those of you wondering why Willie Bloomquist was batting second today, it's becasue the team wanted Jose Lopez to hit fifth. He's been their most productive guy for a while now and Adrian Beltre was supposed to get a full day off to rest. So, it wasn't because Bloomquist is a great No. 2 hitter. It's because the team needed a No. 5 guy and their options were limited. Hope that helps.

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