Seattle Mariners

Right shoulder pinch gives Mariners a pain

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Warming up in the bullpen four days ago, Brandon Morrow felt a pinch just below the front of his right shoulder and knew immediately it was familiar trouble.

“I warmed up and didn’t have my best stuff, but at least I got loose,” he said of that Thursday save of a 1-0 Seattle Mariners victory. “Afterward, it didn’t go away, and Friday I couldn’t go. I couldn’t go (Saturday), either.

“I’ve had this each of the last two years. It’s a chronic problem. If my shoulder hurts, this is where it hurts. It takes about three days to get better, then I’m fine.”

Sunday was Day 3 of the waiting period, and though he felt better, Morrow was also afraid pitching might set him back.

“The last thing I want is to prolong this and miss five, six, seven games,” Morrow said. “I just want to get it over with. It’s like a small pinch in the front of the shoulder – it’s the biceps tendon. I lift my arm, I feel a zing and then there’s just no power there.”

Manager Don Wakamatsu used David Aardsma in the ninth inning Saturday and got a save, although Aardsma allowed a two-run home run that made the final score (9-8) a little tighter than the Mainers would have liked.

“If we get to the ninth and need a closer again, it’ll probably be Aardsma,” Wakamatsu said. “The creativity is trying to get to the ninth inning.”

In the perfect situation, the Mariners have used Shawn Kelley (seventh), Aardsma (eighth) and Morrow (ninth) with a lead. Without Morrow, and with Aardsma moved to the ninth, things aren’t quite so simple.

Kelley, for instance, had pitched the last two games going into Sunday’s contest. Miguel Batista pitched two innings Saturday, Mark Lowe one.

After playing catch before the game, Morrow volunteered to pitch but wasn’t needed. He expects to be ready tonight.

More altitude, please

Ken Griffey Jr. was discussing hitting Sunday morning and bemoaning his own problem – which he dubbed “not enough altitude.”

Showing ball marks along a game-used bat, he pointed to one perfectly centered on the barrel and said that had been a foul ball.

“You don’t want to hit the ball up here,” he said, touching the end of the bat, “and you really don’t want it down on the handle, where guys pitch you in and you don’t get a good swing at it. What you want is the barrel, squared up.”

Meaning?

“You get extension and elevation, the ball goes a long way,” Junior said.

Short hops

Over their first 18 games – nine at home, nine on the road – there were some interesting splits for the Mariners. At Safeco Field, for instance, the team batted .228 with six home runs. In the same number of games on the road, the team is hitting .286 with eight home runs. That translated to a 5-4 home record and a 7-2 mark on the road, so far. …

Ryan Rowland-Smith is scheduled to play catch today for the first time since going on the disabled list April 15.

On tap

Seattle opens its series in Chicago with a 5:11 p.m. (PDT) game today that will be televised on FSN. Probable starting pitchers: Chris Jakubauskas (1-2, 7.11 ERA) vs. John Danks (2-0, 0.95).

larry.larue@thenewstribune.com

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