06/02/10 2:11 AM ET
Relievers Olson, White recalled
By Jim Street / MLB.com
When he was moved from the starting rotation into the bullpen at Triple-A Tacoma a couple of weeks ago, he figured something was up.
"I had about four appearances in the bullpen, so I kind of knew they sort of had a different plan for me," Olson said Tuesday night. "After that happened, I was waiting to see what would happen while continuing to go out there and work."
He was 2-5 with a 3.56 ERA as a starter for Tacoma and 1-1 with a 2.38 in relief.
"I like both roles," he said. "I have grown to be more comfortable with [relief] than I was originally. But wherever they need me, I am happy to serve them there."
"The reports have been good," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "As a manager, you reflect back to last year and what he did against Minnesota, who we happen to be playing.
"He had a lot of success against [Joe] Mauer and [Justin] Morneau and that gives us some versatility. You want guys who can go multiple innings and with a lefty who has the ability to go situational, he gives us that."
Olson, who pitched a scoreless ninth Tuesday night vs. the Twins, and right-hander Sean White were recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before the game.
White, an important part of the Mariners' bullpen last season, was sent to Tacoma on May 19 to work on keeping the ball down in the strike zone.
He appeared to get himself straightened out, allowing runs in just two of his 15 relief appearances.
"It was tough at first going down, I am not going to lie about that," he said. "I felt I could use the time to my advantage and I feel I have done that.
"There was some stuff I wanted to work on, and I really feel it gave me a chance to do some of those things, including getting some consistency with my delivery. The biggest thing for me as a sinkerball pitcher is to keep the ball down so I get the results that I want."
White will team with right-hander Brandon League during the troublesome seventh and eighth innings.
Vargas snares Mauer's dangerous line drive
SEATTLE -- The quick reaction Mariners left-hander Jason Vargas had in the fifth inning on Tuesday night might have prevented some serious damage.
With hardly any time to react, Vargas somehow snagged a line drive hit right back at him by Twins All-Star catcher Joe Mauer, turning the hot shot into an out -- and eliciting thankful sighs at Safeco Field.
Asked after the Mariners' 7-1 victory if he saw the ball, Vargas said, "Yeah I saw it. I caught it. It was the only way I saved myself."
Was he scared?
"For a second," he said. "I was glad I got my glove up. I have had balls that close, but I don't know if I ever had one that hard."
The close-call brought back some memories.
"I had a flashback to 1997," Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair said. "Willie Blair took one off the forehead on a ball hit by Julio Franco. It happened on May 1 and I'll never forget it."
Adair said the ball Franco drilled was almost identical to the one that Mauer laced on Tuesday, a ball that was "probably going well over 100 mph right at his face."
The result, thankfully, was much different this time.
"The ball Franco hit got Willie in the temple and he went down," Adair recalled. "When we got out there, his body started going into convulsions. He missed the entire month of May, but recovered and still won 15 or 16 games for us that year."
Texeira, Colome designated for assignment
SEATTLE -- Right-handed reliever Kanekoa Texeira tried different things this season to change his luck. He cut his hair, shaved off his beard and grew a mustache.
Nothing really worked and the Rule 5 Draft selection from the Yankees' farm system was designated for assignment, along with 32-year-old Jesus Colome following Monday night's loss to the Twins.
Right-hander Sean White and left-hander Garrett Olson were recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and were in uniform for Tuesday night's game.
"The unfortunate thing is when you have a Rule 5 player," manager Don Wakamatsu said on Tuesday, "you'd like to be able to have a scenario in your bullpen where you can pick and choose when to acclimate him to the big leagues.
"In fairness to him, with the situation we're in with a six-man bullpen, you had to put him in situations that are a lot more conducive to someone who has pitched for a long time, or pitched in the big leagues with a comfort level."
Texeira, who never had pitched higher than Double-A with the Yankees, appeared in 16 games, posting a 0-1 record and a 5.30 ERA.
"As time has gone on the last week or so, and you expose a young player to that, you start to see where maybe he's not ready in that situation," Wakamatsu said.
Between them, Texeira and Colome walked 21 batters in 35 2/3 innings.
Other teams will have 10 days to claim Tiexiera and Colome off waivers, and if Texeira isn't picked up, the Yankees will have the option of reclaiming him for $25,000, half the amount the Mariners paid to get him during the Winter Meetings in December.
"We didn't feel like we were taking strictly a Rule 5 guy out of Spring Training," Wakamatsu said. "We felt like we were taking the best available guy. Once the season starts and you get into pressure situations, I think you start to see where maybe the lack of experience shows up."
Ichiro closing in on 1,000 runs
SEATTLE -- Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki scored one run in Tuesday night's game against the Twins, bringing his 1,477-game career total up to 998 runs scored.
That makes it likely that he will become the ninth-fastest active player to reach the 1,000-run mark.
Alex Rodriguez is at the top of the chart, needing just 1,261 games. His first 627 runs and 790 games were with the Mariners.
The next four players ranked behind A-Rod are Albert Pujols (1,306 games), Derek Jeter (1,331), Todd Helton (1,400) and Carlos Beltran (1,438).
Ichiro scored at least 100 runs in each of his first eight seasons, including a career-best 127 in 2001.
If history means anything, June should be a good month for several Mariners. Ichiro Suzuki is a .347 career hitter this month, the best among all Major League players with at least 300 plate appearances, and Mike Sweeney is second at .334. Second baseman Chone Figgins, who enters the month with a .211 average, is a .326 hitter in June during his career. ... First baseman Casey Kotchman is closing in on Kevin Youkilis' record for most consecutive errorless games by a first baseman. Kotchman was at 227 games going into Tuesday night's clash against the Twins, 11 away from Youkilis' record. ... The Mariners are tied with the Twins and Cardinals for second in the Majors with 23 starts of at least seven innings. The Rays are first with 25.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.