Mariners P Tom Wilhelmsen jokes about early-season beaning of Chris Iannetta
The trio of “Danny, Dave and Moore” have done hundreds of interviews together on 710 ESPN Seattle. But Friday’s chat with Mariners relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen went down as one of the “funniest” they’d ever done.
Wilhelmsen, who reunited with the Mariners last month after refusing an assignment to the minor leagues with the Rangers, joked about his short-lived tenure in Texas that included his infamous stare down with Seattle’s Chris Iannetta, after Wilhelmsen hit the catcher with a pitch in early April.
Seattle traded Wilhelmsen in the offseason and the 32-year-old sacrificed nearly $1.8 million by choosing not to pitch for the Rangers’ Triple-A squad. Wilhelmsen scuffled badly with Texas, posting a 10.55 ERA in 21 games. The amiable reliever was quick to make light of those struggles Friday.
“To be traded to the offseason to a team I have been trying to beat my whole career is definitely different,” he said. “And nothing really changed when I got over there. I was still trying to beat them, clearly, helping them lose is what I did. It wasn’t what I really wanted but that’s just the way it happens.”
Wilhelmsen also poked a little fun at his early-season beaning of Iannetta in Seattle’s 10-2 win over Texas on April 5. After serving up two home runs, Wilhelmsen hit Iannetta with a first pitch fastball. Iannetta had words for the pitcher on his way to first and tempers flared from both managers after the incident, but there were no physical altercations. Wilhelmsen joked that he plunked Iannetta because he was “sick and tired of giving up first pitch home runs” and that he was disappointed in the “lame” way the umpire threw him out of the game.
“I wanted to take my hat off, throw it on the ground, pick up second base (and say), ‘You’re out of your mind! I didn’t mean to throw at him,’” Wilhelmsen said.
And what did Iannetta say to him while on the mound?
“I see Iannetta say, ‘I will break you in half,’” Wilhelmsen said. “And I said, ‘Go on to first, dude. Don’t break me in half. I’ve got kids and stuff. I don’t want to be broke.’”
The full conversation is embedded below and worth listening to for a chuckle.