Mariners notebook: Elias update and juggling shortstops
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Roenis Elias has most likely thrown his last pitch of the 2014 season. He was diagnosed with flexor-bundle tightness after coming out of his Tuesday start in the fourth inning and will be flown to Seattle Thursday to have an MRI.
“He’s had a hell of a year,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, confirming that Elias most likely would not throw again this season. “He’s had a tremendous second half, it hasn’t gone unnoticed. He’s done everything we thought he was going to do.”
The obvious hope is Elias does not have anything serious going on with the elbow. In the clubhouse today he didn’t look terribly concerned.
Last night he didn’t want to come out of the game. He didn’t tell his manager or trainer that he felt a little something on a changeup in the third inning. Mike Zunino noticed his fastball didn’t feel as firm in that inning and told McClendon to keep a close eye on him in the fourth. While Zunino was talking to McClendon, Elias told Felix Hernandez that he might have felt something on a changeup he threw. Zunino looked to the dugout after Elias threw what would turn out to be his last pitch and Felix told McClendon he thought he should go get him.
After the game Elias said his plan was to continue to work hard and be ready for his start Sunday. That will not happen regardless of what the MRI shows. McClendon was not ready to announce his pitching plans but Taijuan Walker threw a bullpen session today and the thought is he will most likely start Friday in Houston and push Chris Young and Hishasi Iwakuma to Saturday and Sunday, respectively. We should find out more about that tomorrow.
Austin Jackson, 8
Dustin Ackley, 7
Robinson Cano, 4
Kendrys Morales, DH
Kyle Seager, 5
Chris Denorfia, 9
Justin Smoak, 3
Chris Taylor, 6
Jesus Sucre, 2
Chris Taylor is getting his second straight start. McClendon has been juggling shortstops lately and the results have been favorable. While Taylor has had good streaks and bad streaks he has maintained a .295 average and .370 on-base percentage, strong numbers for a rookie.
After a disastrous first four months of the season, Brad Miller is hitting .308 with a .952 OPS since Aug. 11. I asked McClendon about the challenges of finding playing time for two young shortstops.
“It’s really no challenge,” he answered. “You try to put them in positions to be successful and you try to give them the matchups to be successful where you think they are going to be successful. If you really think about it it is probably a very good idea when you have got two young shortstops. You don’t overexpose them, and you don’t put them in those situations where it will be difficult to succeed. Quite frankly it’s worked quite nicely for us.”
• Mike Zunino was hit by a pitch twice Tuesday, giving him 17 on the year and putting him within two of the club record held by Jose Guillen.
• Kyle Seager had his string of 668.1 consecutive team innings played at third snapped last night when he was replaced by Brad Miller late in the game. He has started 114 consecutive games this season, the sixth-longest active MLB streak.