Pregame notes on Taijuan Walker's neck, Jose Altuve out of the Astros lineup, manager Scott Servais on Adam Lind, matchups and lineups for Saturday's game between the Mariner and Astros.
A day after his start ended with just two innings pitched because of neck spasms, Taijaun Walker was feeling improved and could actually move his head a little.
“It’s better,” he said. “I can turn it and I have movement. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. I have a bullpen and if not, we’ll give it an extra day and throw it on Monday.”
Walker admitted the neck still isn’t 100 percent and if it isn’t feeling normal, he won’t throw off the mound until it feels right.
“If I can’t really move my neck or turn it, I’d be using all arm and we really don’t want that,” Walker said.
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His next scheduled start isn’t until Wednesday in a matchup vs. Rays’ ace Chris Archer. He can adjust his routine in between outings based on how the neck feels. If he can’t throw the bullpen session on Sunday or Monday, he said he could throw a flatground session on Tuesday and still be ready.
Walker is receiving plenty of treatment with session with a chiropractor, acupuncture, icing and other things.
“I don’t really like needles,” he said. “But you have to do what you got to do.”
It’s all so he can make that next upcoming start.
“I’ll be ready to go,” he said.
*** The Mariners won’t have the pain in the neck that is Jose Altuve to deal with on Saturday night — well at least not early in the game. Houston manager A.J. Hinch is giving Altuve his first day off of the season. The little slugger is dealing with a hand bruise.
Altuve has tortured Mariners’ pitchers this season, hitting .450 (9 for 20) with a 1.472 on-base plus slugging percentage with four doubles, two homers, four RBI and six runs scored.
Here’s his career numbers vs. the Mariners
But if there is a big pinch-hitting situation. He still might be in there.
*** The Mariners are still waiting for Adam Lind to be the hitter against right-handed pitchers that they envisioned when they acquired him in the offseason. Lind is hitting .210 (17 for 81) with a .507 OPS in 25 games this season. Lind has yet to beat up on right-handed pitchers like his career numbers — .290 (884-for-3046) batting average and .853 OPS — have indicated. He had a hot stretch for nine games where he hit .441 (12-for-29), but over his last seven games he is 2-for-23 with no extra base hits and two RBI.
When Lind has struggled, it’s been from expanding the strikezone and swinging and pitches that aren’t strikes.
“That’s the biggest thing,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s actually been in here early the last couple of days. Adam is about as care free as anybody, but he knows he needs to get it going and he’s trying to make adjustments. When you swing at that many pitches out of the strikezone, your timing is late and you are late getting to the hitting position. That’s what he’s working on with Edgar (Martinez). He’s just trying to get there early to recognize fastball or breaking ball, ball or strike. That’s what good hitters do. He’ll figure it out. He has hit into some tough luck. But the quality of his at-bats, I know he’s not happy with them. He hasn’t been consistent squaring balls up.”
*** With upcoming pitching probables announced (below), the Mariners will face left-handed starters in three of the next four games. That means plenty of Dae-Ho Lee and Franklin Gutierrez. Servais has said Gutierrez has been healthy for much of this stretch of inactivity.
“He’s been fine,” Servais said. “Guti’s ready to go. He just hasn’t had a lot of opportunities.”
Batter vs. pitcher matchups
Mariners numbers vs. Dallas Keuchel
Astros numbers vs. Nathan Karns
American League West Standings
Around the AL West
Astros catcher Evan Gattis was optioned to Class AA Corpus Christi to work on his catching.
More on Garrett Richards’ injured elbow
Derek Holland has become too reliant on his sinker
Notes from the Tim Lincecum showcase.
On this day in Mariners’ history
- 1979 – Danny Meyer drove in a club-record seven runs, including four with a grand slam home run, to help power the Mariners to a 12-4 win over the New York Yankees.
- 1991 – The Mariners roar back to score five in the bottom of the ninth to win 7-6 versus Cleveland. Edgar Martinez hits a bases clearing double and Pete O’Brien follows with a game-winning home run with one out.
- 1998 – The club strands 16 runners to set a new AL record and tie the ML record for men left on base in a 6-0 loss vs. Toronto.
- 1999 – Yankees right-hander Hideki Irabu opposes Mariner Matt Suzuki, also a righty, in the first match up of Japanese starters in major league history. The Bronx Bomber hurler bests his fellow countryman giving up four hits and a run in New York’s 10-1 victory over Seattle.
- 2012 – Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the 9th, the Mariners rally for 3 runs in a 3-2 win over the Tigers. Brendan Ryan and Ichiro led off the 9th against Octavio Dotel with back-to-back walks, and Ryan scored on a passed ball. Montero tied the game with a double to center field and John Jaso sent the crowd home with a walk-off sacrifice fly to score pinch-runner Munenori Kawasaki.