Mariners Insider

Wells lost for the season, still undiagnosed

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Sep. 22, 2011 at 3:12 pm with 9 Comments »
September 22, 2011 3:23 pm
Casper Wells -'I couldn't pick up the fastball'

An outfielder who showed right-handed power in Safeco Field, Casper Wells has been battling an equilibrium problem for weeks and will not play again this season for the Seattle Mariners.

“I didn’t go with the team and I’ve seen a couple of doctors this week and found out what it isn’t, we just haven’t figured out yet what it is,” Wells said. “I don’t want the perception to be I’m taking it easy – the last few weeks, I couldn’t pick up the fastball.

“ At first I thought it was my eyes, then I thought maybe some kind of sinus infection. In the outfield, I was having trouble seeing the ball. At the plate, the only thing I could really pick up was the curve, and I hit one for a home run in the Texas series at home.

“But it wasn’t my sinuses and it isn’t my eyes. I’m seeing another doctor on Tuesday, which means I won’t play again this year.”

Obtained from Detroit as part of the Doug Fister trade – one that sent David Pauley to the Tigers and got a  return of Wells, Charlie Furbush, Chance Ruffin and a minor league third baseman – Wells made quite a splash in his first weeks with Seattle. In one stretch he homered in four consecutive games at Safeco Field, the kind of right-handed power hitting that got manager Eric Wedge’s attention.

Then came the vertigo, with Wells not only losing balance but having trouble picking up the baseball.

“The night Brandon Morrow hit me in the nose (Aug. 17), I don’t think I reacted very quickly to that inside pitch,” Wells said. “I tried to keep playing. That’s the kind of player I am. If you get an opportunity to play, you don’t want to say ‘I can’t.’ But when you start having trouble with your motor functions, when you can’t pick up a fastball, you’re gambling with your life up there.

“I saw one doctor Monday and a ears, nose and throat specialist Wednesday and I’d hoped to be on a flight to Texas to rejoin the team. It’s not a sinus infection. We still don’t know what it is, I just know what it does.”

General manager Jack Zdurienck, traveling with the Mariners – they’re flying from Minneapolis to Dallas tonight – said the team is ‘confident doctors will pinpoint the issue and handle it appropriately.’

“You’ve seen the power this young man has, you’ve seen the outfield arm,” Zduriencik said. “We’ve liked what we’ve seen in Casper and we’re confident we’ll get that player back and healthy for next spring.”

Wells, 26, will finish the season having played in 31 games for Seattle, batting .216 but with seven home runs and 15 RBI. Combined with his numbers in Detroit, the rookie hit .237 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 215 at-bats with an on-base percentage of .317.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. wabubba67 says:

    He can play alongside Gutierrez in the doctor’s office for the 2012 season. Typical Mariner luck, the one outfielder I wish would come down with some type of minor medical issue to prevent him from playing is perfectly healthy enough to keep cashing his $18 million checks.

  2. Wouldn’t it be ironic if ex-Mariner Morrow ended Wells career?

  3. SharkHawk says:

    This scares the crap out of me and reminds me of one man who had a similar condition. You might want to do a little research on him and maybe see if there are parallels. Nick Esasky. Just when he finally was turning into a bona-fide star in Cinci he started hitting for power, was a great fielder, etc. He had a massive season in Boston (especially consider the ball wasn’t as lively and he didn’t seem to be a roid user). Then he signed a huge deal with Atlanta and was going to be the missing puzzle piece.

    Vertigo developed and he never effectively played again. I think he played in maybe 20 games. He sat the bench for a season and kept hoping he’d get his game back, but it just never happened and he had to retire.

    This is a very serious thing and can ruin a career in a moment. You also have guys on the flipside who develop situations like Jim Eisenreich did (his was mental though) but return and play very well. Just two guys that were uber-talented that had their careers go kerplunk just when they should have hit a run of great seasons.

    There are also those like Kirby Puckett who lost everything on essentially one pitch. I’m not trying to be a downer. Just remembering other great talents who have had horrible luck in some form and had a career altered in a brief moment.

  4. SharkHawk says:

    One more thing to add… I was no Nick Esasky, but I remember getting a pretty serious sinus infection when I was playing and it being resistant to antibiotics. They finally put a booster antibiotic in called Flagyl and I can clearly remember being in the outfield and not seeing a ball and being freaked out because it was not where I thought it was. I moved in to first base for an inning and three throws came to me. The ball wiggled like crazy and I was known for good defense, but two got past me. The third one I just guessed where it would be, closed my eyes, and caught it and immediately told coach I needed out as I couldn’t see right.

    I was off the flagyl about 2 or 3 days later and within a week I was seeing fine again and playing normally. the vertigo cleared, but it was scary. I thought it would never go away. It was my second bout of vertigo in my life… the first caused by a burst ear drum that threw me so far out of wack that I fell off of one of the boardwalks at Yellowstone (that are like ten feet wide) and then the case when playing ball. Both scary, but thank goodness they are gone. I have mild bouts of it now, but they tend to be tied to my eyesight and an astigmatism. I will wear glasses that make a mild correction about 20% of the time if I feel it coming on and all is well. It took a while to figure it out though, Thank goodness the M’s have better docs than I do!

  5. flyingdutchman says:

    To wish Ichiro bad luck is just completely bad form and really the sign of a non-Mariner’s fan. You should be wishing Ichiro hits like he has the previous 10 seasons instead of wishing him to get sidelined.

  6. wabubba67 says:

    I wish him bad luck because he is not a part of the Mariners future, and thus, should not be a part of it unsuccessful present. He takes ABs away from younger players that we should be evaluating. But this town seems to have an unwarranted love affair with him that I just don’t get. I care only about winning, not selling merchandise. My philosophy is that the merchandise will sell at a rapid rate if we ever become a consistently successful team.

  7. tomiron24 says:

    wabubba67 post:

    Maybe it has something to do with the 10 straight years of All Star caliber play this future Hall of Famer has shown us.
    Nobody expects an Ichiro basher to “get it”.

    It’s a little disgusting when we have to see Ichiro bashers like wabubba67 unashamedly crawl out from under their rocks and wish injury on Ichiro, just because Ichi has had an off season after a full decade of excellence.

    Even in a subpar season for him, Ichiro has so far managed to score 80 runs for a weak offensive team (around a staggering 150% times more than the runner up), 180+ hits, and 40+ stolen bases.

    This does not sound like a player who was lying around “cashing checks” as the basher put it, but rather someone who was trying his best in a rare subpar season. To wish injury on such a player is really classless and shows what Ichiro bashers like wabubba67 are about.

  8. tomiron24 says:

    The highlighted part didn’t come out so I’ll repost:

    wabubba67 post:
    “But this town seems to have an unwarranted love affair with him that I just don’t get.”
    Maybe it has something to do with the 10 straight years of All Star caliber play this future Hall of Famer has shown us.
    Nobody expects an Ichiro basher to “get it”.

    It’s a little disgusting when we have to see Ichiro bashers like wabubba67 unashamedly crawl out from under their rocks and wish injury on Ichiro, just because Ichi has had an off season after a full decade of excellence.

    Even in a subpar season for him, Ichiro has so far managed to score 80 runs for a weak offensive team (around a staggering 150% times more than the runner up), 180+ hits, and 40+ stolen bases.

    This does not sound like a player who was lying around “cashing checks” as the basher put it, but rather someone who was trying his best in a rare subpar season. To wish injury on such a player is really classless and shows what Ichiro bashers like wabubba67 are about.

  9. Ichiro is an hof player. We’ve been fortunate to see him in a daily basis

    It is time for him to move on, probably time to retire.

    See Griffey, Jr as an example of a similar situation.

    Won’t happen due to Japanese ownership.

    Unfortunately due to the lowered self imposed salary cap, the 18 mil he’s going to receive in 2012 will cripple this team. Z may get fired due to a lack of funds; we’ll never know if he would have made good decisions with that 18 mil or not.

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