Tacoma Pulls Off Two Huge Comebacks

Jarrod Washburn and Raul Ibanez are still Mariners, and that's a good thing...for now. Also, the Rainiers pulled off two highly improbable comebacks down in Tennessee. Carlos Triunfel is still swinging it well in the desert, and Dennis Raben is cooling off after a blazing start.

The hesitance of the Mariners to give up Jarrod Washburn and Raul Ibanez without receiving something significant in return is actually good news for M's fans. It means, if nothing else, that Lee Pelekoudas understands that the key to rebuilding this team is not all about salary relief. Unfortunately, the two players that keep coming up in respect to the Yankees --- Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera --- are outfielders who would just add to a logjam in an area where the M's are already stocked with young talent. And although Cabrera has been a starting outfielder for the Yankees for most of the last three seasons, he has never really produced much offensively. Minor leaguers like Victor Diaz and Craig Wilson would provide better numbers right now. Even Jeremy Reed could put up similar numbers over a full season. Gardner is interesting because he gets on base at a high rate and has great speed, but has zero power. As a table setter for big bats behind him in the lineup, he could be a valuable guy. But on a team that is already offensively challenged, he may not fit.

Most of the Ibanez rumors have involved the Mets, who look like a good fit, but the Mets are apparently content to use Fernando Tatis in left rather than part with a top prospect. However, it's only Monday and there are still three days for Omar Minaya to panic.


Tacoma orchestrated two stunning comebacks over the weekend to shock fans in Nashville and Memphis. On Friday, the Rainiers took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning but Jared Wells blew up and gave up six runs in the frame. The ninth inning seemed like a formality, but the Rainiers weren't going away. A leadoff walk by Tug Hulett was followed with consecutive singles by Matt Tuiasosopo and Wladimir Balentien to load the bases. Shawn Garrett and Craig Wilson then struck out, leaving the Rainiers with no margin for error. Michael Saunders and Prentice Redman then worked consecutive walks to force in two runs, and Rob Johnson lined a single to right field that tied the game. Randy Messenger came in to throw three hitless innings, and Tuiasosopo's two-run homer in the 12th won it for Tacoma.

The next night, the Rainiers traveled west to Memphis and pulled off an even crazier win. Trailing 6-1 in the ninth, Tacoma scored seven times in the inning to devastate the Redbirds. Tug Hulett hit his 12th homer of the season to pull the Rainiers within 6-5, and then Olympic-bound Michael Saunders launched a three-run shot with two outs to give Tacoma the lead. It was Saunders' third homer since moving to AAA.

In other Rainiers' news, Jorge Sosa has joined the pitching staff after signing a minor-league deal with the Mariners. The 31-year-old has thrown 713+ innings at the major league level. He had a fairly successful 2007 with the Mets, making 14 starts and 42 total appearances. He posted a 4.47 ERA last season, but that ballooned to 7.06 in 20 appearances with the Mets this season. With the team struggling, Sosa was jettisoned and he caught on with the Astros organization. After 17 appearances with Round Rock, he found himself a free agent yet again and now lands with the Mariners. Sosa joins Victor Diaz as players who were released by the Astros and subsequently signed by the M's this year.

Down in West Tenn, Tracy Thorpe made his first start with the Jaxx and gave up just one hit in four innings. Thorpe didn't pitch well in a relief role with Tacoma and was sent to AA to become a starter when Sosa joined the Rainiers. Justin Thomas threw four more scoreless innings as the Jaxx went on to a 6-2 win over Birmingham on Sunday. Marshall Hubbard hit his third homer in five games as he continues to recover from an oblique injury that put him out of action for more than six weeks.

Carlos Triunfel hit yet another home run on Sunday as he continues his mid-season rejuvenation for the Mavericks. Carlos is now hitting .465 (20-for-43) in his last 10 games, with 16 runs scored in that span.

With pitching as ugly as it is down in High Desert, Anthony Varvaro stood out by having a fairly nice line in Friday's win at Lancaster: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.

The highlight of Wisconsin's weekend series with Beloit was Jake Wild's seven shutout innings in a 1-0 victory on Saturday. Wild allowed four hits and struck out six. Ryan Moorer and Jeff Dunbar pitched the last two innings and shut the door on the Snappers.

Dennis Raben fever has quieted down a little bit up in Everett. Though Raben continues to carry a .473 OBP due to his high walk rate (and his .328 batting average is nothing to sneeze at), Dennis has struggled over his last 10 games, going just 6-for-35 (.171). Raben still looks like the best talent with the Sox, but he's not the "men among boys" that he appeared to be after his first few games.

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