Jeremy Bonderman last stepped on a major-league mound for a game that counts on Oct. 1, 2010, when he lost to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden...
Jeremy Bonderman last stepped on a major-league mound for a game that counts on Oct. 1, 2010, when he lost to the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards as a member of the Detroit Tigers.
On Sunday, he’ll be back out there at Target Field, this time wearing a Mariners uniform to face the Twins. In the interim, Bonderman sat out both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, recovering from shoulder surgery and then undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in April 2012.
The Pasco resident decided to make a comeback this year with the Mariners and has spent the season with Class AAA Tacoma working on regaining his arm strength. He’s gone 2-4 with a 4.52 earned-run average in 11 starts, giving up 77 hits in 63-2/3 innings, striking out 33 and walking 18.
Manager Eric Wedge confirmed Friday what had become increasingly apparent: That Bonderman will come up from Tacoma to replace Brandon Maurer in the Mariners’ rotation. They will have to remove someone from the 25-man roster and also from the 40-man roster to make room, decisions that likely won’t be announced until Sunday.
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“He’s been pretty consistent down there,” Wedge said. “It’s just a progression of what we saw this spring. He’s putting the ball on the ground, he’s been aggressive, his arm’s been pretty strong, using all his pitches. Obviously, he has a great deal of experience. He’s worked hard to get here, and he’ll have an opportunity on Sunday.”
Bonderman, 30, was 67-77 in eight seasons with the Tigers. This will be his 194th major-league start. He won 14 games in both 2005 and 2006, striking out 202 in the latter season. Wedge said he’s looking for Bonderman to give the Mariners a chance to win the game, which hasn’t always been the case with the bottom of their rotation.
“He’s been here and done it before,” he said. “You look at how hard he’s worked to get back here. I’m sure he’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
Morse remains hobbled
Outfielder Michael Morse, who stayed in Seattle while the Mariners were in San Diego in order to rehab his strained quad, flew into Minneapolis. He listed himself as “I guess day to day” but was out of the lineup for the third straight game.
“I can hit, I can do everything,” he said. “I think the one thing I feel maybe is running. It’s just sore. It’s a little tight, but it’s not a pulled feeling anymore. If it was up to me, I’d give it one or two days more days and I’ll be fine.”
He said he watched the two games he missed on television from the Mariners clubhouse.
“It was weird because no one was in there,” he said. “I was doing some rehab stuff. Every time we started getting on a little roll, I didn’t move. That first game was frustrating, but yesterday was a nice game to watch.”
Also frustrating to Morse was the injury itself, which occurred while he was trying to score from first on a double by Michael Saunders on Tuesday.
“To me, it’s such a fluke thing,” he said. “I felt so good. My legs, I’ve been taking good care of my legs, and I feel great in the outfield. I felt really good running, and especially right there I felt great. I just tried to push it a little too much. I compare it to driving a car and red-lining a car. You just don’t do that. I tried to run a little faster. But I’m not fast, so I don’t know what I was doing.”
Meanwhile, Justin Smoak, out for his sixth straight game with an oblique injury, continues to believe he’s close. But he’s not quite ready to cut loose at the plate, especially from the left side.
“I still haven’t done much left-handed,” he said. “I’m day by day with that; we’ll see how that goes. Right-handed felt a little better. I’m kind of scared to let it go right now. I’ve had it before, and I don’t want to overdo it.”
Smoak pinch-hit on Wednesday, flying out while hitting right-handed.
“It’s good enough to do that,” he said. “It feels fine, I can do whatever I want to do. Every once in awhile on a swing left-handed off a tee I’ll feel it a little bit. It’s one of those things where I don’t want to push it. They don’t want to push it, either. I’d rather be out a week than a month. Just trying to go day by day and see how it feels.”
• Infielder Robert Andino, who was designated for assignment to make room for Jesus Sucre on the 40-man roster on May 24, cleared waivers and accepted his outright assignment to Tacoma. He’ll join them on Saturday for the Rainiers’ game with Sacramento at Cheney Stadium.