08/17/2004 7:16 PM ET
Notes: No surgery for Guardado
Closer should fully recover by Spring Training 2005
By Jim Street / MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- The second opinion that left-handed reliever Eddie Guardado received on his injured left shoulder was just what the doctor ordered for the Mariners bullpen.
|The tear in Eddie Guardado's left rotator cuff is not severe enough to merit surgery. (Jim Bryant/AP)
He doesn't need surgery to repair his rotator cuff.
The Mariners feared the worst when a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) taken in Seattle last week disclosed a tear in the lefty's rotator cuff. It is a common practice with such a serious injury to receive a second opinion and Guardado was examined Monday by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Anaheim.
"It was good news," manager Bob Melvin said prior to Tuesday night's game against the Royals. "Apparently, it's not [torn] bad enough to have surgery. He is going on a four-to-six week rehab program.
"Hopefully, we'll have him healthy and ready to go in Spring Training," Melvin said.
The news wasn't as good on right-handed relieved reliever Rafael Soriano, who underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday afternoon and could be sidelined for most of the 2005 season.
Soriano, one of the most pleasant surprises last season when he had a 3-0 record and 1.53 ERA in 40 appearances for the Mariners, went through a sophomore-jinx kind of season in 2004. He suffered a strained oblique early in Spring Training, opened the season with the Mariners, but was sent to Triple-A Tacoma after compiling a 0-3 record and 13.50 ERA in six appearances.
The good news on Guardado overshadowed the bad news on Soriano.
The Mariners were worried that their top closer would be sidelined for the first half of next season. It now appears that the stringent rehab program directed by head trainer Rick Griffin, and arthroscopic surgery to "clean out" his left knee, could make the 33-year-old even healthier at the beginning of training camp next spring than he was last February.
Guardado missed several days of workouts in Peoria, Ariz., because of knee problems, something he also experienced when he was with the Twins.
He started with five consecutive scoreless outings and two saves, ending April with four saves and a 0.84 ERA. Guardado had solid months in May (1.17 ERA, five saves) and June (1.54 ERA, six saves).
But he struggled in July (0-2 record, 10.57 ERA) and didn't appear in a game in August.
Overdue: A win in Wednesday night's game against the Royals wouldn't make a tough season a whole lot better for right-hander Ryan Franklin, but it certainly would be a step in the right direction.
He has a 3-11 record and, through no fault of his own, hasn't won since June 2 when he beat the White Sox, losing seven straight.
"[A win] would make me feel a little better going into my next start, but as long as I'm going out there every fifth day, my confidence is fine," he said.
Franklin admitted that a stranger looking at his record might think he isn't a quality pitcher.
"Anyone who has seen me pitch this season wouldn't say that," he said. "There are guys out there with 10 wins who have earned run averages in the high fours."
Franklin has allowed two or fewer runs in eight starts this season but won only two of them, but that is nothing new.
He had a losing record (11-13) last season despite a 3.57 ERA, the ninth-best mark in the American League.
Olympic participants: The Mariners have five minor league players competing in the Olympic Games in Athens. Left-handed pitcher Craig Anderson pitches for Australia (he was losing pitcher in the 4-1 loss to Cuba); Ryan Rowland-Smith also pitches for Australia; infielder Yung-Chi Chen plays for the Chinese Taipai team; outfielder Wladimir Balentien plays for Netherlands; and left-handed pitcher Phillip Devey is on the Canadian team.
No track record: Melvin always looks at pitcher-batter matchups before finalizing his lineup, but there was a little problem on Tuesday.
"I was going over our batter-pitcher matchups and their batter-pitcher matchups and there aren't any," he said.
Mariners starter Bobby Madritsch made his first career appearance against the Royals and Kansas City starter Darrell May never had faced any of the Mariners hitters.
"We will just watch them warm up and have at 'em," Melvin said.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.