© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
07/27/06 12:36 PM ET
Notes: Snelling's return to Majors short
Recently recalled outfielder unbowed by adversity of injury
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- He's torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee twice, broken a bone in his right hand and has had elbow and wrist trouble in a short career spoiled by injuries. So what is it that has kept outfielder Chris Snelling -- recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday -- consistently coming back? "The bottom line is: I love this game and the challenges that it brings," Snelling said. "It's very easy to say it's too hard. When things get hard, it's easy to quit." On a day that saw Seattle designate its designated hitter, Carl Everett, for assignment and trade for Cleveland's Ben Broussard -- Snelling's arrival almost slipped under the radar, which is what the 23-year-old Australian would have preferred. The left-handed outfielder is generally reserved and even more so when surrounded by a throng of television cameras and reporters who asked him about his health, his swing and his role with the Mariners. Snelling was hitting .247 in Tacoma with four home runs and 34 RBIs in 52 games for the Rainiers. He was playing three days and taking the fourth day off as he continues to work his way back from ACL surgery on his left knee in September. My main focus this year is to just get healthy. I had to prove to people that I could play every day," said Snelling, who still wears a protective brace on his left knee -- the same knee he injured with Seattle in 2002. "My knee feels as good as it's ever been ... knock on wood. The knee is a non-issue now." So, too, Snelling said, are concerns over his left-handed swing -- the same swing that produced a lifetime .328 batting average in the Minor Leagues heading into this season. "He's a quality hitter ... still coming back, but he's the same kind of hitter but not quite the same guy defensively," general manager Bill Bavasi said. Snelling started the season on the disabled list while recovering from ACL surgery. He joined Tacoma on a rehabilitation assignment on May 10 and then was activated from the DL on May 20. This wasn't be Snelling's first time in the Major Leagues. He has appeared in a combined 23 games in 2002 and 2005, hitting .214 (12-for-56). It was in 2002 when he suffered his first knee injury rounding third base in a game at Tampa Bay. Since then, Snelling has been saddled with injuries during his professional career. After knee surgery in 2002, he missed all of 2004 with various injuries to his hand, wrist and elbow. Snelling had played some center field in Tacoma, though he's better suited for either left or right. It's unlikely that he'll see much time in the Mariners outfield, at least right away. "To get a lot of playing time in the outfield right off the bat ... probably not," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. Snelling's stay in Seattle was short, as he was only in uniform for Wednesday's game before being sent back to Triple-A. Moving ahead: Seattle reliever Sean Green breezed through his simulated game prior to Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays, facing several of his teammates before a nearly empty stadium. Green threw 35 pitches and reported no pain in his back. Green was placed on the 15-day DL on July 3 after experiencing back spasms following a game at Safeco Field. The spasms were so severe that Green spent two days at a local hospital before he was released. All that seemed a distant memory on Wednesday and Green was able to throw all of his pitches -- including his sinking fastball -- for strikes and with good command. "I felt really good," he said. "I felt strong." The issue at this point for Green -- who had a 6.19 ERA in 12 games before the injury -- isn't so much his back but building up arm strength after a significant stretch where he didn't throw. "Right now, it's about getting back to what I was doing pitching-wise before," Green said. "My back feels good, it feels 100 percent. I'm not really worried about how it's going to feel in the next couple of days. I'm just trying to fine-tune my pitching." Where Green does his tuning remains a question, though the likely scenario will have him sent out to one of Seattle's Minor League affiliates for a rehabilitation stint. Anything will beat sitting around and doing nothing. The last day Green threw a pitch in a live game was July 2 against Colorado -- the same day he suffered the back spasms. "It's pretty hard. .... You want to be out there and help the team," Green said. "But it was a situation where I knew I was going to be down for a while." Mariners log: Beginning Friday in Cleveland, Seattle will play 17 of its next 23 games on the road. ... Adrian Beltre has a combined 30 extra-base hits in June and July after collecting just nine in the first two months of the season. ... Ichiro Suzuki had 147 hits in his first 100 games this season. In 2004 when he set the Major League record for hits in a single season (252), Ichiro had 153 hits at the 100-game mark. On deck: The Mariners are off on Thursday. They'll open a three-game series at 4:05 p.m. PT in Cleveland on Friday. Felix Hernandez (9-8, 4.76 ERA) gets the start for the Mariners. He'll face Jeremy Sowers (2-3, 5.12). FSN will televise.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.