The players’ next Kangeroo Court undoubtedly will include a “substantial” fine for right fielder Ichiro Suzuki.
The fun-loving session, directed by “Judge Mo Money” (Ken Griffey Jr.), cites players for all kinds of “infractions” on and off the field and the cash register rang a few times on Wednesday night when Ichiro lost track of the number of outs in the fourth inning of the 1-0 victory over the Angels.
Ichiro ran a long way to catch up with a foul popup hit by Angels Howie Kendrick with the bases loaded.
Making sure the runner at third base did not tag up and try to score the tying run, Ichiro made the catch, quickly transferred the ball to his throwing hand and was ready to throw to the plate — when he finally realized that he actually caught the third out.
He sheepishly grinned and tossed the ball into the crowd, giving someone a souvenir.
He returned to the dugout, a little embarrassed, to say the least.
“The joke was, ‘In Japan they play four outs (in an inning),” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “(Carlos) Silva actually came up and gave (Ichiro) a kiss on the cheek. Just to see a guy of that stature have a little snafu like that was refreshing for the rest of us.”
But just wait until Griffey gets a gavel in his hand and presides over the next court session.
In other matters, left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith had a good bullpen session today and will report to Triple-A Tacoma for a short rehab stint. He is expected to make two or three starts and get his pitch count up to around 100 before rejoining the Mariners in early June.
At that point, the Mariners will decide which five starters would be in the rotation. As now now, Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Jarrod Washburn, Jason Vargas and Chris Jakubauskas are pitching every fifth day.
Jakubauskas helped his status on Wednesday night, holding the Angels to two hits and no runs over six innings.
“When he pitches like that he deserves to stay in the rotation,” Wakamatsu said. “When Rowland-smith comes back we’ll have to make that decision.”
The only change in the Mariners lineup tonight is Mike Sweeney replacing Griffey as the designated hitter and batting third.
— Jim Street