Notes: Lowe throws simulated game
Right-hander pitches pain-free, nears return to active roster
SEATTLE -- The Mariners' bullpen is getting closer to receiving a lift.Reliever Mark Lowe, who underwent right elbow surgery in the offseason and started the season on the 60-day disabled list, threw a one-inning, 15-pitch simulated game prior to Wednesday's matinee against the Red Sox and is scheduled to throw another one Saturday. Manager Mike Hargrove said Lowe threw without pain, and he is expected back after the All-Star break, if not a little sooner. Lowe's pitches were clocked around 88 mph, and although Hargrove said they'd like to see him get back up around 97, it was a good first outing. "The fact that he pitched pain free and had pretty good command of his pitches, and he's healthy, that was the thing we were looking for," Hargrove said. "It's so hard to recreate the emotion and the adrenaline rush in a simulated game." Lowe is expected to make at least three rehabilitation starts after his next simulated game, in which Hargrove said he may throw more than 15 pitches. In the three rehab starts, which could be completed within a five-day span, Lowe will be throwing one-inning stints and will not pitch on back-to-back days, nor will he pitch on consecutive days in his first few appearances with the Mariners. "When he comes back, we're not going to pitch him back-to-back right from the start," Hargrove said. "That's down the road, eventually. Obviously he's going to have to do that, but not early on." This day in Mariners history: The Mariners played their final game at the Kingdome on June 27, 1999, beating the Rangers, 5-2. They finished with a 852-903 record in the dome. Walk this way: The Mariners, who have a reputation as free-swingers, have drawn an average of five walks per game against the Red Sox this season, but have averaged just two walks each game in their other 69 games. In fact, Seattle has drawn the fewest walks in the American League with 186, which is 40 fewer than the next-to-last team, Kansas City. The Mariners have drawn 14 walks against the Red Sox in the first two games of the series, including a season-high eight walks on Tuesday. Much of that, though, can be attributed to Boston's starters struggling to find the strike zone. "They just weren't throwing strikes, period," Hargrove said. "We don't have a patient club, we swing the bats. ... That's just the kind of hitters we have. You can't change that behavior. You can modify it, and that's what we've been trying to do, but you're not going to change it." Swing away: Speaking of free swinging, the Mariners host their annual Mariners Care Golf Tournament on their off-day Thursday, benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Richie Sexson, Raul Ibanez and J.J. Putz will serve as the tournament hosts for the event that has raised $3.8 million for Cystic Fibrosis research. Bloomquist boomin': Utility player Willie Bloomquist has been on fire in his last 14 starts, hitting .375 with eight runs scored and seven RBIs. He is 21-for-54 with 11 runs scored since May 24, raising his average from .087 to .282. Bloomquist hit his second home run of the season in Tuesday's game, and his first at Safeco Field since July 13, 2003, spanning 451 at-bats. Luck of the 'pen: Mariners reliever Eric O'Flaherty earned the win in Tuesday's 8-7 victory over the Red Sox, becoming just the second Mariner in club history to start 5-0, matching Julio Mateo's mark in 2003-04. O'Flaherty's 2.08 ERA is second best among AL rookies and is also the second lowest by a rookie reliever in franchise history, behind Rafael Soriano's 1.53 ERA set in 2003. On deck: The Mariners get back to work after their off-day on Thursday, hosting the Blue Jays on Friday in the first of three games. Southpaw Jarrod Washburn (6-6, 4.09 ERA) stands opposite from righty Dustin McGowan (4-2, 4.83 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. PT.
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.