Morrow To Make Anitcipated Debut At Safeco

After spending his entire professional career in the bullpen, the M's sent Brandon Morrow to Tacoma in August to become a starting pitcher. Tonight, Morrow makes his debut as a starter against the Yankees at Safeco. Read on for the details, as well as other Mariner news and notes.

INSIDE PITCH

If all goes according to plan, the New York Yankees will see a somewhat different Brandon Morrow than has been seen in the big leagues to this point.

Morrow, a right-hander, is back with the Mariners after having been sent down to Class AAA Tacoma to stretch out his arm and become a starter rather than a short reliever. When he went down, Morrow led the club with 10 saves.

At the time, there were no plans to fiddle with the pitches he throws, but in the past month Morrow has added a curve that he hopes will develop into another weapon to go along with his 98 mph fastball and 86 mph slider.

Morrow gets the first start of his big-league career Friday against the Yankees, and the Mariners as well as the visitors will be getting their first real look at the curve, which Morrow didn't throw when he was pitching in the eighth and ninth innings.

Morrow made five starts for Tacoma and only made it as far as six innings once, in his last start. Manager Jim Riggleman says there won't be any restrictions on Morrow, but it would seem unlikely that even if he had his best stuff he'd throw more than 75-85 pitches.

NOTES, QUOTES

--LHP Jarrod Washburn was supposed to be the starter Friday against the Yankees, but a strained left abdominal muscle has put that on hold. Although that kind of injury needs recovery time, Washburn said he plans on starting again before the season is over. However, manager Jim Riggleman said the club will "err on the side of caution."

--RHP Brandon Morrow had a 1.47 ERA as a short reliever this season, but he embarks on a new segment of his career Friday when he gets his first big-league start against the New York Yankees. Morrow was sent to the minor leagues on Aug. 5 and got five starts for Class AAA Tacoma.

--3B Matt Tuiasosopo, a local product, probably will make his big-league debut Friday against the Yankees. Tuiasosopo, whose brother, Marques, is a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders and whose dad, Manu, played for the Seattle Seahawks, was tentatively scheduled to get the Friday start in Safeco Field against LHP Andy Pettitte, just a few miles from his Woodinville, Wash., home. There already have been four big-league debuts for Seattle this season: 1B Bryan LaHair, 2B Tug Hulett, 2B Luis Valbuena and LHP Justin Thomas.

--C Kenji Johjima, who didn't play the last couple of games in Texas after being spiked on his right hand while diving into a base, figures to be able to start behind the plate again this weekend.

--INF Miguel Cairo, sidelined by a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch Monday in Texas, could be back in the lineup this weekend against the Yankees.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Consecutive quality starts for the Mariners rotation to end August. That was the best Seattle streak of the season. It was the team's longest stretch of quality starts since 10 consecutive from Sept. 4-14, 2003.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They say the game will drive you crazy if you let it, and I'm pretty close." -- LHP Jarrod Washburn, after the bullpen let another potential win of his slip away over the weekend.

MEDICAL WATCH: C Kenji Johjima (bruised hand) sat out Sept. 2-3. He should return during the weekend of Sept. 5-7.

C Jeff Clement (sore knees) was limited to DH duty Sept. 2. He appeared as a pinch hitter Sept. 3.

INF Miguel Cairo (bruised hand) sat out Sept. 2-3. He is day-to-day. He should return during the weekend of Sept. 5-7.

LHP Jarrod Washburn (left abdominal strain) will miss his scheduled start Sept. 5. He said he hopes to return this season, but manager Jim Riggleman said the club will "err on the side of caution."

LHP Erik Bedard (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 5. He was unable to throw July 21, but an MRI the next day showed the same impingement he has had. He started throwing again in early August, but his throwing program was halted in late August when discomfort returned to his left shoulder. He started throwing again Aug. 22, but it's unlikely that he'll pitch again this season.

INF/OF Willie Bloomquist (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 10, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Sept. 2. He is out for the season.

RF Mike Morse (dislocated left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 14, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Sept. 1. He had season-ending surgery April 22. He was hitting and fielding in pregame drills in August, and he will go to the Mariners' fall Instructional League camp.


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