09/05/07 7:22 PM ET
Notes: A night to remember for Balentien
Rookie gets first Major League hit off the bench on Tuesday
By Jim Street / MLB.com
"We know they are not going to play much, and last night was a rare opportunity," McLaren said. "We expect to be in every game. The guys we brought up primarily will be used as pinch-runners, defensive help and extra catchers."
Balentien understands that, but he wants to learn as much as he can about big league life while he's here.The 22-year-old is coming off a terrific season for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, batting .291 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs. He was recently selected as the Pacific Coast League's Rookie of the Year. His Major League future seems bright, but there is some question as to when he'll become a lineup fixture in the Majors. The Mariners have more quality outfielders than places to put them. Patience might have to become a virtue for Balentien, who has one option year remaining. Here's the question: Balentien and catchers Rob Johnson and Jeff Clement all made their big league debuts in Tuesday night's game. When was the last time the Mariners had three players make their debuts in the same game? Big Blue: When it comes to sports, there's nothing more important to closer J.J. Putz than retiring the final batter of the game to secure a win. But Michigan football ranks a close second. So you can only imagine what the past few days have been like for the Michigan native and former Wolverine. On Wednesday, four days after Michigan's stunning loss to Appalachian State in Ann Arbor, Putz still was in no mood to talk football. "He's very sour, very bitter about it," good-natured teammate Willie Bloomquist said. Bloomquist was among the first to offer his condolences last Sunday morning, when Putz walked into the visiting clubhouse in Toronto looking glum. "I gave him a big hug and told him it was OK," Bloomquist said, tongue firmly in cheek. "I told him to keep his head up, everything will be OK and 'I love ya.' I feel his pain, and he knows I am always here if he needs help. Support is key in a crisis situation like this." Bloomquist was also quick to point out that his alma mater, Arizona State, has an unbeaten record against Michigan.
"We beat them in the Rose Bowl, so I think we're 1-0 against them," he laughed.Here's the answer: Pitchers Rich DeLucia, Dave Burba and Mike Gardiner made their Major League debuts on Sept. 8, 1990, at Fenway Park.
On deck: The Mariners, off on Thursday, begin a three-game series against the Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park. It's the final stop on a grueling four-city, 10-game road trip. Right-hander Miguel Batista (13-10, 4.59 ERA) takes on Cy Young Award candidate Justin Verlander (15-5, 3.67) in the series opener. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 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.