Obviously the sort of big news last night was the two roster moves made after the game with RHP Jesus Colome and RHP Kanekoa Texeira being designated for assignment with LHP Garrett Olson and RHP Sean White being recalled from Triple A Tacoma.
Manager Don Wakamatsu kept most of the talk about Texeira.
“The unfortunate thing is when you have a rule 5 player you’d like to be able to have a scenario in your bullpen where you can pick and choose when to acclimate him to the big leagues, “Wakamatsu said. “In fairness to him, with the situation we’re in with a six-man bullpen you’re having to put him in situations that are a lot more conducive to someone who has pitched for a long time or pitched in the big leagues with a comfort level. As time has gone on over the last week or so and you expose a young player to that, you start to see where maybe he’s not ready in that situation.”
It was a little simpler for Colome, Wakamatsu boiled it down to “Colome not throwing strikes.”
Olson figured a change in roles with Tacoma might later trigger a call up.
“It is always kind of unexpected,” Olson said. “They don’t give you that much warming. The only difference was about a week and a half or two weeks ago they pulled me from the rotation to have me come out of the ‘pen. I had about four appearances doing that so I kind of knew they had sort of a different plan for me. After that happened, I was waiting to seeing and continue to go out there and work.”
I caught a few of Olson’s outings in Tacoma. Often times he would be brought in situationally to face left-handed hitters, and then he would pitch the next inning and a half or so. Lefties were hitting .135 (5-for-37) against him this season.
Olson said his mentality is a little different pitching from the bullpen instead of starting.
“I would just say that coming out of the ‘pen it is more of a sprint than a marathon,” he said. “You definitely have to be aggressive and set the tone with the first pitch. As a starter, you are trying to establish the zone. But you also face them 3-4-5 times where you can’t just throw anything at them. As reliever, you can come in and throw your ‘out’ pitch right away in key situations.”
We’ve seen Olson have his issues in the past with his command and some mental struggles on the mound. But Wakamatsu chose to look at the positives.
“Reports have been good,” Wakamatsu said. “As a manager, you reflect back to last year and watch what he did against Minnesota, and it just happens that we’re facing them now. He had a lot of success against Mauer and Morneau, and that gives us some versatility. Going back to the six-man bullpen, you want guys who can go multiple innings and with a lefty who has the ability to go situational, and he gives us that.”
Obviously White had his struggles. He’s supposed to be a ground ball type of pitcher with sinking fastball. But he only got about 44 percent ground balls this season. It was something he tried to address.
“There was some stuff I wanted to work on going down there and I really feel it gave me a chance to do some of those things. My delivery, consistency with my delivery, but the biggest thing for me as a sinkerball pitcher is to keep the ball down so I get the results that I want.”
White said some of it was mechanical and he’d been working with pitching coach Rick Adair on getting some things corrected.
“I was working with Rick a little bit before I got sent down, mostly on getting my (front) foot down so I am more direct to the plate and give myself a chance to catch up with arm,” he said. “I wanted to throw downhill and down in the zone. Those were the biggest things.”
We also asked about Ryan Langerhans, who hasn’t played since May 18th. Langerhans isn’t hurt. He just hasn’t gotten into games.
“He’s healthy, it’s just trying to get the right situation,” Wakamatsu said. “I haven’t figured that out yet. He’s a good player. He’s versatile and he’s someone who gives us depth on the bench. He can play centefield, left field and first base. Believe me, I’d like to get him in there because he’s a good player. You also look at certain situations with certain guys you want to stay with a little bit and see if they recover.”
Langerhans certainly hasn’t been pouting about not playing.
“He’s been tremendous, he understands the situation and when he has gotten the opportunity he has been great in that,” Wakamatsu said. “As we go forward, you’ll see him have a stronger role than he has right now.”
- Denard Span CF
- J.J. Hardy SS
- Joe Mauer C
- Justin Morneau 1B
- Michael Cuddyer RF
- Jason Kubel DH
- Delmon Young LF
- Brendan Harris 3B
- Nick Punto 2B
RHP Nick Blackburn (6-1, 4.28 ERA)
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Mike Sweeney DH
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Casey Kotchman 1B
- Josh Wilson SS
- Eliezer Alfonso C
- Michael Saunders LF
LHP Jason Vargas (3-2, 3.12 ERA)