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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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July 22, 2008 11:01 PM

M's finally score, still lose

Posted by Geoff Baker


Not every night so many fans get to cheer and go home happy from Safeco Fied after another loss by the Mariners. But these are the Red Sox in town, with their fans in tow. The Mariners go down to a 4-2 defeat and the fans, thousands of them, are cheering in the aisles.

R.A. Dickey told us after the game that he challenged J.D. Drew with that first inning sinker, with the count full, because he did not want to risk walking him with a knuckleball and putting him on base for Manny Ramirez so early in the game. If he was going to get burned, so be it. He got burned. For a solo homer. The M's never caught up.

"I feel for the offense, it's tough,'' he said after giving up four runs over six innings. "Our job is to keep producing quality innings so we have a shot to win at the end of the game.''

Dickey did his part. But this offense is comatose.

Good news?

Well, the M's saw Bryan LaHair get his first major league hit, in the eighth inning off Daisuke Matsuzaka. An Ichiro double would later bring home LaHair all the way from first base with Seattle's first run after 18 consecutive scoreless frames.

"As soon as Ichiro hit it, I knew it was in the gap so I took off,'' LaHair said.

LaHair grew up watching the Red Sox in Worcester, Mass.

"Unbeleivable,'' he said of his feelings after the hit. "It felt great.''

The M's got another run, on a Jose Lopez single, but that was it.

This team is now 24 games under .500. Yes, a season-high.

"We've just got to come out and put more pressure on the opposing ballclub,'' Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. "We've got to do more earlier in the ballgame, get something there and hopefully not be facing the Papelbons of the world every night.''

The M's did indeed see Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who shut them down in the ninth for a second night in a row.

Riggleman feels his players are still working hard and take pride in what they do on the field. When it doesn't worj for them, he said, it hurts.

"When you're going through something like this, you want your players to care,'' he said. "And they care. maybe too much.''

Riggleman was optimistic about the results of Erik Bedard's MRI.

"I was pretty encouraged by what I heard,'' Riggleman said. "I think Erik was encouraged. Whatever was found there, whether it was an impingement, or whatever terminology was used, my understanding is that Erik feels like he's going to get out there and start throwing again soon.

"That's the hope,'' he added. "I don't know when he'll throw again or when he'll be throwing to a catcher again or just playing catch.

"But we need him out there,'' he added. "He wants to be out there. There are some things going on there, though, that are just not allowing him to be free and easy.''

Jeff Clement won't be catching again until Friday at least. He can still swing a bat, which may get him some pinch-hit duty tomorrow. But that torn nail on his thumb is preventing him from throwing the ball.

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July 22, 2008 8:29 PM

Boston Red Sox at Mariners: 07/22 game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

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******* NOTE: Jeff Clement leaves game with thumb injury; Bedard has no serious injury *******

I told you earlier, they've pulled out all the stops tonight just in case Manny Ramirez wants to try something. You don't mess with Seattle's finest.

OK, we've got an update on Erik Bedard's MRI. The team is saying it confirmed the club's original diagnosis of a left shoulder impingement. What does that mean? A sore shoulder, says the club. So, no serious structural damage from what we're being told. Bedard will now continue with his regular rehabilitation program. Not sure whether that means throwing outdoors, or in a batting cage, or what. But I'm sure they'll tell us sooner or later.

Jeff Clement is out of the game. The nail on his thumb tore off when it was clipped by that ball. That's why you don't grab on to the protective screen behind home plate, or stick your hands out car windows...that sort of thing.

Boston just pushed three more runs across in the fifth to grab a 4-0 lead. An infield hit by Jacoby Ellsbury, and a single by Dustin Pedroia, that dropped just out of Raul Ibanez's reach, left runners at the corners with none out. Ellsbury scored on a sacrifice fly by J.D. Drew. Manny Ramirez then singled to left, and Mike Lowell doubled to score Pedroia. After an intentional walk, Jed Lowrie hit a sacrifice fly to left.

Might as well be 10-0 the way the M's, two-hit to this point, are looking.

Continue reading this post ...

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July 22, 2008 4:30 PM

Bedard gets an MRI

Posted by Geoff Baker

manny0722 012.jpg

Take a look at the pitchers above, taking some pitchers' fielding practice, and try to figure out which one isn't there. Well, the title of this post kind of gives it away. Yes, Erik Bedard is absent. He's getting a magnetic resonance imaging scan done on his shoulder. We should know the results in a couple of hours.

From what I've been told, Bedard had a cortisone shot over the weekend. It was hoped that he'd feel well enough to start throwing again yesterday. But he couldn't even repeat the mild throwing he'd done in an indoor batting cage on Sunday. The Mariners figured enough was enough and it was time to figure out what the problem is.

"He didn't really feel up to throwing yesterday, so we're going to have him take an MRI,'' Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. "Hopefully, the news is good on that. He was throwing the ball the other day in the cage and made a little progress. But not enough, really.''

Riggleman said Bedard's shoulder woes were not an immediate concern. After the July 4 outing by Bedard, he said, it was merely a question of some minor soreness. The DL move, remember, was more a pro forma thing that wasn't originally going to set Bedard back in his next start. But as the days went by and Bedard's arm showed no signs of improving, the team grew more concerned. That's apparently why it took up until now to get that MRI done.

"The more days of that,'' Riggleman said, "it just became apparent that, let's see if we can clear his mind that there's nothing structurally wrong there.''

But the line of the day goes to Bosox manager Terry Francona, who, when informed of last night's jaywalking by Manny Ramirez, quipped: "OK, that's the last straw. I'm not playing him.''

Ramirez is indeed in tonight's lineup as the DH. He'll match up, rather well, I might add. Ramirez's response to the jaywalking story? "It's OK. Don't worry about it!'' he said, raising his hands. You can see him below, no doubt talking to his agent about all the fuss.

manny0722 032.jpg

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July 22, 2008 2:03 PM

Red Sox Nation speaks

Posted by Geoff Baker

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I guess we ticked off a few of the good folks from Red Sox Nation with our Manny Ramirez item from last night. Judging by this blog entry in the Boston Globe. Reading through the comments, I can't help but think that we folks in Seattle have a bit of an image problem when it comes to jaywalking. As you can see above, they've beefed up coverage of the streets outside the stadium today, just in case Manny tries being Manny again. Well, maybe not.

But then again, as far as images go, if that's the worst thing your enemies can come up with about the place you live, is it a bad thing?

We won't get into discussing the relative quality of the comments, or level of discussion, on our respective blogs.

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July 22, 2008 10:50 AM

Should M's keep Washburn?

Posted by Geoff Baker

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For anyone who hasn't seen it, here's the latest blog post from Ryan Rowland-Smith, written after his demotion to Class AAA.

"It was the toughest day of the year for me,'' he writes. "I left Safeco Field upset and very confused. I'm not sure if people understand the feeling of being sent down, it's tough no matter what.''

It goes on into more detail. Interesting to read his thoughts. I'd have thought he'd be happy once he thought of the bigger picture, knowing that he really wants to become a starting pitcher. Then again, it's easy for all of us to sit and talk big picture. These guys have a limited shelf life when it comes to their athletic careers.

By the way, for those of you asking me about the Manny Ramirez story and how I got it: let's just say that the Times has plenty of reporters and columnists who are Mariners fans and go to games on their own dime. If you're going to have a run-in with a cop, it's best not to do it right in front of those Times reporters and columnists trained to take down notes and get in-close to the action.

Back to Rowland-Smith. He is, as we mentioned, being groomed to take over a rotation spot. Why? Well, part of the reason is the uncertain status of the two lefties in the rotation. Who knows whether Erik Bedard will be healthy enough to pitch at 100 percent efficiency the rest of the season? Or whether or not Jarrod Washburn did enough last night to get himself traded.

Now, here's the part that's going to get me in trouble with some folks: should the Mariners be trading Washburn?

I mean, yes, we've all heard the conventional wisdom. That Washburn is regressing with age and will be a worthless hunk of lefty mound waste by next season. One that will cost more than $10 million.

But if all the M's are going to do is dump Washburn's salary in a trade, would it benefit the team more to be keeping him? You know my take on it. I still think the team should hedge its bets and try to save money. Namely because it has some lefty starters who could step in and do a borderline, replacement-level job right about now. Or, within weeks. Like Rowland-Smith.

The big question becomes, how "real'' is this mid-season transformation by Washburn? Because it appears that, if he keeps this up the rest of the year, he will wind up producing very close to the same numbers that he did in 2007.

Continue reading this post ...

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