Some probably wondered what was wrong with Chris Reitsma this year, especially when opponents pounded him like a birthday piñata and his...
Some probably wondered what was wrong with Chris Reitsma this year, especially when opponents pounded him like a birthday piñata and his earned-run average ballooned to 7.61 this month.
Turns out plenty.
The 29-year-old reliever will undergo arthroscopic surgery Thursday morning to correct inflammation in his right elbow. An unhappy Reitsma elaborated on his condition Monday, using career-threatening terms like “degenerative,” “arthritic” and “bone-on-bone activity.”
“Basically, I have a 60-year-old elbow,” Reitsma said.
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The surgery likely ends Reitsma’s season, although Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly said he would miss at least six weeks.
Reitsma fractured the bone in his elbow in 1997 and has had problems with the joint since. He was on the disabled list twice this season, and missed most of last year with Atlanta to fix nerve damage that caused his throwing hand to go numb.
He said he feels discomfort every time he picks up a ball, but thought he could pitch through it.
Team orthopedist Dr. Edward Khalfayan will perform the surgery. Reitsma pitched 23-2/3 innings in 26 appearances, giving up 37 hits and 20 earned runs while walking nine and striking out 11.
“I feel really bad, coming in here and really wanting to help, being someone they brought in to count on,” Reitsma said. “I feel like I let the organization down and let my teammates down.”
Reitsma was signed in the offseason to be the setup man for closer J.J. Putz.
Manager John McLaren said Reitsma’s velocity was almost back, and thought he was getting healthy. But coaches were tipped off when Reitsma wouldn’t throw his changeup.
“This guy tried to pitch with some pain and I respect him a lot for that,” McLaren said. “We just reached a point, we knew that he was hurt.”
Before Monday’s game, the Mariners recalled left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith, 24, from Class AAA Tacoma to take Reitsma’s spot. Rowland-Smith is in his third stint with the Mariners this season. McLaren said there are some positives with the move because Rowland-Smith gives the manager another left-handed bullpen option.
In seven appearances with Seattle, the native of Sydney, Australia, has pitched 10-2/3 innings, with 14 strikeouts, three walks and a 4.22 ERA.
A fresh start
Ideally, Ben Broussard would like to play every day, though he’d settle for starting against right-handed pitchers. But even that hasn’t been an option. As the trading deadline approaches, Broussard doesn’t seem opposed to a fresh start elsewhere.
“Just once or twice a week, pinch-hitting off closers and stuff, it’s tough. It’s a tough way to stay sharp,” said Broussard, who has had spot starts at first base, outfield and designated hitter. “And also not to lose your sanity, because you come to the field every day, and you’re not in the lineup and it crushes you.”
Asked if he or his agent have approached the front office about his feelings, Broussard responded, “All year pretty much, it’s been known how I’ve felt, that this isn’t what I want.”
“It’s frustrating, just trying to go out there and every day just cheering for my teammates, but being as competitive as I am, sitting on the bench,” Broussard said. “I think I can play every day in other places.”
• Not only does Adrian Beltre lead the American League with 30 runs batted in in July, but Seattle’s third baseman has picked the most opportune times to hit them. He has seven two-out RBI in the last three games, and leads the team with 29 two-out RBI this season.
• Monday was “Salute to Japanese Baseball Night.” Isao Uzaki, the vice-mayor of Kobe, Japan, threw out the first pitch. Throughout the game, baseball terms were translated into Japanese.
• Players and coaches for the Everett AquaSox, the Mariners Class A short-season affiliate, watched batting practice. The team had an off day.
Michael Ko: 206-515-5653 or email@example.com
For the record
vs. AL West: 19-16
vs. L.A.: 3-7
vs. Oakland: 10-3
vs. Texas: 6-6
vs. AL East: 18-10
vs. AL Cent.: 12-11
vs. NL: 9-9
vs. LHP: 21-8
vs. RHP: 37-38
Extra innings: 3-1
Monday’s crowd: 31,232
Season total: 1,722,645
Biggest crowd: 46,340 (June 22)
Smallest crowd: 16,555 (May 2)
Average (54 dates): 31,901
2006 average (54 dates): 29,420