AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Then came the fifth inning. Carlos Beltran, who had doubled and stolen third, tried to score on a wild pitch, and Hernandez ran to the plate to take a short throw from catcher Jeff Clement. It never came. The resulting collision was just the latest in a nightmare of a season for poor Seattle Mariners fans. Clement held onto the ball and dove to the plate, Beltran eluded him and while scoring slid into the pitcher. A great night for Hernandez had turned awry fast.
Hernandez sprained his right ankle. He hopped and limped around before falling to the ground, and a few minutes later threw a warmup pitch that he couldn't complete effectively without great pain. New Mariners manager Jim Riggleman wisely resisted Hernandez's pleas to attempt another warmup pitch, and the 22-year-old pitcher was helped off the field.
Things probably couldn't get much worse for the Mariners, who are already sporting the worst record in baseball. Earlier in the evening it was announced Erik Bedard would miss his Wednesday start with back spasms, the same malady that forced him from Friday's outing in Atlanta. Bedard, who cost the Mariners a few top prospects in the offseason trade with Baltimore, is 4-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 13 starts, hardly ace numbers, and has already served one DL stint. Miguel Batista, fresh off recording nary an out in a blown weekend save, is scheduled to start Wednesday at the Mets.
How battered is the Seattle pitching staff? With J.J. Putz on the DL, Brandon Morrow out since last week with back spasms and Batista and his 6.26 ERA and 1.89 WHIP now headed back to the rotation, Sean Green was summoned to close Monday's game. He put a few men on base, and Arthur Rhodes earned his first save since 2006. Roy Corcoran relieved Hernandez with a 2-2 count on Ramon Castro in the fifth, one strike away from qualifying the starter for the win, but the official scorer decided to credit Ryan Rowland-Smith, who pitched the seventh and eighth innings, with the win. If you own Corcoran, sorry, no win for you!
None of that mattered after the game, as thoughts again turned to Hernandez and the severity of the ankle injury. Hernandez said he won't miss his next scheduled start (Sunday against Padres ace Jake Peavy), but with the Mariners not playoff-bound, they shouldn't take their chances with such a huge part of their future.
Mark Teahen, Royals
He hit his eighth homer Monday, surpassing the seven he had in 544 at-bats last year. Owners still wonder what happened to the Teahen who slugged 18 homers over 393 at-bats in 2006.
Jo-Jo Reyes, Braves
While Ben Sheets was going the distance, his opposing starter Reyes had his shortest outing of the season, going just 2 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on six hits. He had gone at least seven innings in his previous three starts.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel announced after Monday's game that David Wright would not start Tuesday, citing fatigue and the need for a day off. Damion Easley can play third base in his place against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. ... With Sean Casey serving the first game of his three-game suspension for his part in the Tampa Bay brawl June 5, Brandon Moss played first base after Kevin Youkilis was hit in the face by a Mike Lowell throw. Youkilis struck out in his only at-bat, then left the game. ... The news on Tom Glavine isn't getting any better. The future Hall of Famer has been told to rest his elbow another 4-6 weeks, meaning he won't be back by the All-Star break, if at all. ... In St. Louis, the Cardinals are hoping to get something from lefty Mark Mulder soon. Mulder was scratched from his Monday rehab start with back stiffness, but at least it wasn't more elbow woes. ... Poor Nick Johnson can't seem to get a break. He'll have arthroscopic surgery on his injured right wrist Tuesday, and might miss the remainder of the season. Dmitri Young has been starting regularly, but has knocked in eight runs in 34 games this season. ... There is relatively good news from Pittsburgh, where struggling Ian Snell was diagnosed with golfer's elbow. He was not placed on the DL, though certainly his 5.99 ERA doesn't make him much of a fantasy option at this point. ... Toronto's Shaun Marcum met with Dr. James Andrews on Monday, and the result was actually positive. Marcum has strained ligaments in his forearm and elbow, but the words Tommy John surgery have not been mentioned as a solution.
"You certainly don't want to attach any great significance to [Felix] Hernandez's home run. He closed his eyes and swung as hard as he could, and he's a big strong guy. These things happen. Still, over the last season-and-a-half, [Johan] Santana's been giving up more home runs than he did during what now looks like his prime, 2004-2006. This year, despite facing pitchers in most of his starts, his strikeout rate is his lowest since he reached the majors to stay in 2002. Santana remains a fine pitcher, fully capable of winning 15-18 games with a good team. But that guy who struck out more than nine batters per nine innings, won two Cy Young awards and should have won another? I'm beginning to wonder if we're ever going to see that guy again."
-- Rob Neyer Full Story
For more on Johan's long-ball struggles, read James Quintong's column on homer-prone pitchers.
• Arizona welcomed back Eric Byrnes from the disabled list Monday after the left fielder missed 25 games with tears in both hamstrings. Byrnes batted leadoff, going 0-for-5 and leaving six men on base. Fantasy owners want to see the same guy who swiped 50 bases a year ago. Before going on the DL, Byrnes had four steals in 46 games. Alex Romero was optioned to Triple-A Tucson.
• The Royals called up relief pitcher Joel Peralta from Triple-A Omaha, sending Jeff Fulchino to the minors. Peralta struggled with the Royals earlier this season, but was terrific at Omaha, throwing 18 2/3 scoreless innings. He'll pitch in middle relief for Kansas City, as Ramon Ramirez is established as the top setup man for Joakim Soria.
• Kei Igawa threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday, raising his record to 7-4 with a 3.47 ERA. Can you say, 4-A pitcher? Igawa has had no luck with the Yankees, though he's likely to get another chance at the major league level eventually.
• Demoted Indians second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera hit his first home run for Triple-A Buffalo, and raised his batting average to .434 in 13 games. Cabrera, who was playing shortstop, also stole his first two bases for the Bisons. It was his fifth straight multi-hit game. Jamey Carroll isn't really the future for the Indians at second base, so Cabrera could be back in the majors soon.
• In the same game, Jensen Lewis didn't accelerate his chances for promotion by allowing a hit and three walks in the eighth inning, turning a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit, and an eventual loss. Lewis was a bullpen revelation for the Indians last season, but his ERA at Buffalo rose to 5.14 over 14 innings.