© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
08/23/07 9:24 PM ET
Notes: Wells look-alike joins Mariners
White gets call from Triple-A Tacoma for playoff push
By Jim Street / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- A rumor going around Rangers Ballpark in Arlington early on Thursday afternoon was that veteran left-hander David Wells had been spotted in the hotel lobby where the Mariners are staying during their four-game series against the Rangers. As it turned out, a Wells look-alike -- veteran right-hander Rick White -- joined the Mariners from Triple-A Tacoma, ready and willing to help the team compete for a playoff berth. White, 38, replaces left-hander John Parrish on the 25-man roster. Parrish was optioned to Tacoma. "We're just trying to balance it out a little bit," manager John McLaren said. "There were a couple games we had to use both [Sean] Green and [Brandon] Morrow and don't want to use J.J. [Putz] unless the game means something. This gives us more balance. "He's a veteran guy who has been in the postseason and has a good game face." Six years younger and several pounds lighter than Wells, White is a mirror image of the better-known left-hander, who was recently released by the Padres. White has a shaved head and sports a big, bushy goatee. "I get a lot of that 'You look a lot like Wells,' which is one of the reasons I wanted to lose some weight," White said. 'I don't mind having a facial resemblance, but when my body started to look like his, I decided I had to do something about that. So I lost 25 to 30 pounds during the offseason." He also lost his job with the Astros almost a month ago. After earning a spot in Houston's bullpen in Spring Training, White pitched well for a while, but then went on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Shortly after returning to active duty, he was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck, which was pinching two of the nerves in his arm, causing his fingers to go numb. "It's hard to tell where the ball is going when you have no feeling when you throw it," he said. Several cortisone shots enabled him to resume pitching, but White had three bad outings in a row and was released by the Astros. He returned to his Springfield, Ohio, home, figuring his season was finished. "I was going to shut it down for the rest of the year and try to catch on with somebody next spring," he said. "But Seattle and a couple of other teams called [my agent] right before the trade deadline and asked if I wanted to play." White went to Arizona for a physical, passed and signed a Minor League contract with the Mariners. He spent two weeks in Peoria getting himself back into pitching condition, reported to Triple-A Tacoma and pitched well enough for the Mariners to make Thursday's roster move. "We need some help in the bullpen after the game we had in Minnesota, going to the bullpen pretty quick, and we want to make sure we're ready for this four-game series against Texas," said Jim Na, the Mariners director of baseball administration. "He has been throwing one-inning stints with Tacoma and has pitched real well. He had given up only one run, that coming on a home run." The Mariners are the 11th Major League team White has played for during his 12-year MLB career. That is one behind Mike Morgan on the all-time list. He was 1-0 with a 7.67 ERA in 23 appearances with the Astros this season and has a career record of 42-53 with a 4.43 ERA in 238 games, all but four of them in relief. White has postseason experience with the Mets in 2000 and Cardinals in '02, pitching in four Division Series games, four Championship Series games, and one World Series game. Parrish, acquired from the Orioles on Aug. 9 for Minor League outfielder Sebastien Boucher, appeared in four games with the Mariners, going 0-0 with an 8.44 ERA. "He has been working on some things with Chavvy [pitching coach Rafael Chaves] and will be able pitch on a more regular basis down there," McLaren said. Trivia challenge: Ichiro Suzuki leads the Major Leagues with 43 infield hits this season and now has 336 during his six-plus seasons with the Mariners. Who ranks second and how many does he have? Been there, done that: Chaves spent his entire playing career in the Minor Leagues and witnessed a lot of crazy games. One of them reminded him of Wednesday night's record 30-run scoring barrage by the Rangers against the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader. "I was playing for Wichita in 1989 and we beat Midland [Texas], 33-18," he recalled. "Ricky Bones was our starting pitcher and he gave up something like 10 or 12 runs, and was the winning pitcher." Chaves said he didn't pitch in the game that day. "That's why Midland scored only 18 runs," he laughed. "You wonder when this is going to end, and the sun will come up tomorrow," he said about Wednesday's record setting performance from a pitching coach's standpoint. "I'll tell you what," McClaren said. "[Seahawks and Cowboys head coaches] Mike Holmgren and Wade Phillips would like 30 on opening day and take their chances. It was one of those games that whatever was thrown was hit. I can't remember 30 runs in a game." The answer is: Juan Pierre, who now plays for the Dodgers, ranks second behind Ichiro in infield hits since the start of the 2001 season with 334. On deck: The four-game series continues with Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (9-6, 3.94) opposing Rangers right-hander Kevin Millwood (8-10, 5.39). First pitch is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. PT.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.