They don’t show up every spring, and for some teams they never do – kids that report to spring training without a chance and force themselves on to the major league roster.
Against all odds, with a week left before opening day, Brandon Morrow has become one of those kids.
The Mariners have tried denying it. The easy thing to do would be send him to the minors now.
Morrow’s ability won’t let them. Morrow’s unflappable presence stops them.
The question now is, with his arm and his stuff, how do you keep the kid they drafted last June off the Mariners opening day roster.
You probably can’t.
At the risk of hearing ‘you’re rushing him’ from cynics, consider Morrow’s track record. He started in a major college program, California, pitched in a setup role and even closed there.
In 16 innings after being drafted last season, he allowed 10 hits and four runs – a 2.25 earned run average.
This spring, against a continuing roll call of major league hitters, he’s done even better.
Over 7 1/3 innings in five spring appearances, the 22-year-old Morrow hasn’t allowed a run. Hitters are batting .087 against him. He’s walked two, struck out eight.
If Morrow were to make the team as a long reliever, it might be something of a setback to him – he’s never had a role in which his schedule would be so erratic.
That won’t happen.
Morrow, who one year ago was taking classes at Cal, is now likely to make this team as one of the Seattle Mariners setup pitchers.
With J.J. Putz not 100 per cent, with lefties George Sherrill and Arthur Rhodes still fighting issues, Morrow has emerged as a valid candidate to work late in games with a lead.
By now, he should be on his way to Class AA.
A week from now, he is as likely to be enroute to Safeco Field.