Thursday, March 24, 2005

Whither now, el Cartelua? 

Felix Hernandez certainly knows how to wow 'em! He went after one of the best hitters in baseball, and sat him down with a whimper. Vladamir Guerrero never knew what hit him. If this is the last outing for King Felix before he heads to Tacoma to fine tune his game, he certainly left a fine calling card.

What if the M's don't send Felix to Tacoma, but instead decide that the best way to baby his arm is to put Felix in the bullpen? What would your reaction be? Each outing this Spring has been of the two inning variety. Its not an unprecedented path, taken successfully most recently by Johan Santana and less successfully by Rafael Soriano (at least I hope they were planning to get him into the rotation). Maybe we'll see the same from Felix? Part of me likes the idea, but then I'm afraid they wouldn't make the transition from pen to ace by the end of the year like they should (say, about the time Rafael Soriano returns). Or worse, the transition would never happen. That would be criminal.

Jorge "Popeye" Campillo also looked strong last night with a nasty slicing curveball. However, he appears to nibble with the fastball rather than attack with authority. After the evening was over, Campillo was sent to AAA Tacoma. But he will be back this season. Count on it.

In other news, hearts throughout Marinerland raced with excitement at the news that Aaron Sele had been sent to the minor league camp. Unfortunately, this was just a Jim Street case of mistaken Aarons, with confused Sele with Looper. Just in case they edit the article in the link above, here is the quote for anti-Sele fans to savor.
Two more roster cuts made: The Mariners reassigned catcher Wiki Gonzalez and right-handed pitcher Aaron Sele to the minor league camp. The move leaves 43 players in camp, including nine non-roster invitees and pitcher Travis Blackley, who is on the 60-day DL.
Actually, I'm firmly in the "give Sele a chance" camp. If there is one pitcher who has looked ready to go all Spring, its been Sele. Let him hold down the 5th starter spot until King Felix or Popeye are ready to take it over.
He is only 34 years old, and looks 100% healthy for the first time since 2001 when he last wore the M's uniform. Many complain that at his peak, he was just "league average" and took advantage of luck and excellent defense. Well, if no one has noticed, our defense looks excellent again, and our luck has got to turn from 2004. Give Aaron a chance.

Finally, some good news for Bucky and his Backers. After weeks of being restricted to riding a stationary bike and getting physical therapy on his surgically repaired knee, Bucky Jacobsen will begin hitting off a tee Saturday. Heal Bucky!

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