News: Hisashi Iwakuma surfaces in Vegas
Compass Reading: On course
Commenter Brent directed us to Tacoma broadcaster Mike Curto’s comments on the Iwakuma rehab start in Las Vegas.
Here’s Brent’s reconstruction of the game:
he seemed to be a victim of BABIP bad luck in the first inning. None of the first three batters hit the ball hard (one was a broken bat gift hit), and on what should have been a routine 5-3 groundout the third baseman threw the ball into right field. The only balls in the air were the broken bat hit and a sac fly. 29 pitches in the first inning alone. 76 pitches total in only four innings, but 56 strikes / 18 balls, with a lot of grounders, some of which would be outs with Major League defense behind him. As long as he feels healthy and has no pain when throwing, I’m not concerned.
And here are Curto’s recollections from his blog:
Iwakuma was nickled-and-dimed for three runs in the bottom of the first inning without allowing a hard-hit ball. His fastball velocity was steady at 89 in the first inning, but slipped to 86 by the time his rehabilitation outing finished in the fourth. He had good movement on everything, though.
Is he ready to join the big league rotation? That’s for the Mariners to decide – they had plenty of people watching him, including Player Development Director Chris Gwynn, Pitching Coordinator Terry Clark and Special Assistant to the GM Ted Simmons.
Given that he only threw 76 pitches and the fade in velocity as he went, it’s safe to assume that at least one more rehab assignment is on tap, but there don’t seem to be any red flags.
And commenter Tacoma Rain adds:
Kuma pitches better once his blister becomes a callus… and I have not even heard Kuma with a blister yet, so I think he is a long way from being ready.
We’ll keep an eye on that. Anyone have a callus update?
News: Carson Smith to disabled list
Compass Reading: Injury bug is disconcerting
Smith’s problem relates to a finger injury, so it’s probably not major, but it’s yet another one of the top young guys out of action: Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Stephen Pryor and Smith (not to mention Danny Hultzen) all have been near the top of my prospect lists, and none is helping the M’s much so far this year.
News: Abraham Almonte gets “mental break”
Compass Reading: Who was putting him in the situation that he needed a break from?
I’m not down on Abe. I was down on Lloyd McClendon forcing him to the top of the lineup every single day.
If he’s the guy you want in center every day, I got no problem with that, but to put the no-walk, high-K version of Almonte out there to soak up more plate appearances than any other player was just nuts.
True, Brad Miller was out there struggling as well, but Miller got a day off on April 20, a full week ahead of Almonte, and came back to the lineup batting 9th.
And Miller, like Kyle Seager, was struggling with a very low BABIP, so leaving him out there to “get on track” and revert to the mean made some sense.
Almonte actually had a very high BABIP. His outs were his own making (and making and making … ).
- Tacoma lost to Sacramento in 10 innings despite holding the River Cats scoreless for the first eight frames. Anthony Fernandez gave up only one hit though he didn’t dazzle with strikeouts: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB 2 K.
- Jesus Montero saw his 10-game hitting streak end. He actually had a five-game streak going with two hits per game.
- Jackson squeezed out four runs on five singles, a double and two walks. Two of the runs were unearned. But it was enough thanks to a strong start from Cam Hobson: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
- It’s … Henry Splash #5! OK, you can’t make as many cute catchphrases for Jabari Henry as you can for Jabari Blash, but my goodness: 5 HR and 7 BB in just 10 games! And a triple. Funny thing is no doubles and only two singles.
- And a good pitching outing from Tyler Olson: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K.