Ian Snell never quite made it to Tacoma, and the right-handed pitcher will step into Seattle’s starting rotation Sunday against Texas.
“He’s going to take Jarrod’s spot in the rotation,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Starting tonight, our rotation is Jason Vargas, Felix Hernandez, Snell, Ryan Rowland-Smith and Luke French or Garrett Olson.”
Don’t panic – the only reason French isn’t automatic is the Mariners haven’t laid eyes on him yet and can’t pencil him into until they do.
As for Snell, he said something today that no player coming to the Mariners has said in years:
“It’s great to join a winning club,” he said after being acquired from Pittsburgh. “I love Seattle, I’ve got family in Tacoma.
“It was a lot of fun today, just throwing in the bullpen. These guys are fun, and it reminded me of my AAA team – guys playing tricks on one another, guys enjoying one another.”
Snell’s state of mind will have a lot to do with his pitching, if history is any judge. Going 2-8 in Pittsburgh this season, he and Pirates management didn’t always see eye-to-eye.
“I didn’t like the finger pointing just at me for being 2-8 – I wasn’t the only guy on the field in those games,” he said. “In the end I just told them to send me to the minors and let me get my thoughts together.”
As he did, scouts said, his pitching improved dramatically, and no one doubts Snell can pitch.
“He had a game in the minors earlier this year where he struck out 17 guys in seven innings – struck out 13 in a row,” Wakamatsu said. “We’re going to let him pitch and see what Rick (Adair) and John (Wetteland) can do when they get their hands on a pitcher of this caliber.”