Mariners put Fister on DL, recall French
Left-hander provides reinforcements for weary bullpen
SEATTLE -- One week off might have given right-hander Doug Fister enough time to recover from the shoulder fatigue that cost him a start on Saturday, but the Mariners' bullpen didn't give manager Don Wakamatsu a chance to wait and see.
Seattle put Fister on the 15-day disabled list Sunday and called up left-hander Luke French from Triple-A Tacoma, a move that brings immediate relief to a shorthanded bullpen.
"I don't know if his medical condition has changed any more, it's still a fatigued arm, but this is two-fold," Wakamatsu said. "Luke French gives us needed help in the bullpen right now. Our bullpen is pretty fatigued right now with [Sean White] being out today, and [Chad Cordero] and [Garrett Olson] have both thrown two days in a row."
Fister's placement on the DL is retroactive to June 1, and Wakamatsu is aiming for him to return to the rotation on June 16 for the finale of a three-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis. In the meantime, Ryan Rowland-Smith will continue to hold Fister's spot.
Working as a reliever will be a role change for French, who made all 11 of his appearances for the Rainiers as a starter. He posted a 6-2 record and 1.93 ERA with one complete game, and because he was scheduled to start Sunday in Tacoma, he's ready to go.
"The fact of the matter is, I need to be ready to pitch whenever they ask me to pitch, and that's the way I'm going to approach it," French said.
Meanwhile, shortstop Jack Wilson was scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday, but he was scratched from the lineup because of a wet field. Wilson has been on the disabled list since May 6 with a right hamstring strain.
Figgins, Wakamatsu ejected in finale
SEATTLE -- The Mariners provided offensive fireworks with a three-run first inning against the Angels on Sunday, then second baseman Chone Figgins and manager Don Wakamatsu provided more entertainment before the third frame got under way.
During his second-inning at-bat, Figgins bristled at a 3-1 pitch that plate umpire Tim Timmons called for a strike on the outside corner. After he grounded out to end the frame one pitch later, he turned around and appeared to say something in Timmons' direction.
He was quickly tossed, and when Wakamatsu came out to discuss it with Timmons, first-base umpire Tim Tschida got involved, Wakamatsu retorted and Tschida ejected him.
Wakamatsu had come out of the dugout in the first to talk to third-base umpire Alfonso Marquez when Figgins was called out trying to advance to third on a single by Jose Lopez. That exchange was calm, but the meeting with Timmons and Tschida was much more heated.
That was the second early exit of Wakamatsu's career, as he was sent packing May 20 -- his 203rd game -- for arguing when Ichiro Suzuki was caught stealing.
It's hard to measure the impact of a manager being ejected, but Figgins' absence was notable right away, as his replacement, Matt Tuiasosopo, made an error during the third at-bat of the third by dropping a line drive hit right at him by Bobby Abreu.
The miscue put runners at first and second with one out, but starter Jason Vargas got out of the jam with a popout and strikeout.
Day off could be coming Ichiro's way
SEATTLE -- A rest may be in store for Ichiro Suzuki in the next few days.
The Mariners' ever-reliable right fielder has started all 56 games this season, and with Seattle in the midst of a 20-games-in-20-days stint, manager Don Wakamatsu said he's keeping an eye and ear on his 36-year-old star.
"I talked to Ichi at length prior to this 20-game stretch, and it's more about him communicating to us how his body feels," Wakamatsu said. "Right now he says he feels great, but if we get on this 10-day road trip and it gets to the point where we would look at it, obviously the Texas series is the one we'd have to do something."
The series in Texas would give Ichiro a chance to be used as the designated hitter, as the next six games will be played at National League parks with no DH allowed.
Ichiro played in 146 games last year -- the lowest total of his Major League career -- after going on the disabled list with a stomach ulcer, but before that he was a model of consistency with 157 or more games played in each season.
Second baseman Chone Figgins has also started all 56 games, and Jose Lopez and Franklin Gutierrez have made 54 starts each.
Mariners play under roof for 17th time
SEATTLE -- As a drizzling rain picked up in the top of the first inning, Mariners players and fans saw a familiar sight: the roof of Safeco Field rolling shut overhead.
Sunday marks the 17th time in 31 home games that the roof has been closed or moved during play. The product of a wet, chilly start to spring in Seattle, that number is already higher than the totals of the entire 81-game home slates in 2000 (11), '03 (15) and '06 (10).
This season, the Mariners are 10-6 in games where the roof is closed or moved, and they're nearing the club record for roof activity, set in '07 with 23 of 82 home contests affected by weather.
Saturday was one of the rare games where Seattle played under blue skies and sunshine, with a 59-degree first pitch temperature that felt significantly warmer than Sunday's rainy 58-degree start.
Mariners All-Star voting moves to online only
SEATTLE -- Sunday marked the last day fans could vote for the 2010 All-Star Game starters at Safeco Field, but there's still plenty of time to make sure deserving Mariners book a spot in the game.
Fans can vote up to 25 times at MLB.com using the 2010 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot sponsored by Sprint until July 1 at 8:59 p.m. PT. Sprint subscribers can now vote on the go with select Sprint devices. They can learn more about how to vote on their smart phones at MLB.com/Sprint.
Starting rosters for the game will be announced July 4, and the game will be July 13 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
Mike McCall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.