Fun With The Disabled List

Fresno took down Tacoma in the first game of the series yesterday, 3-2.

Tacoma starter Jeremy Bonderman had his best outing of the season so far, going five innings and allowing just one run on five hits. He struck out five and walked two, throwing 95 pitches.

That was a very encouraging game for Bonderman, who is attempting a comeback at age 30. He has not pitched in the majors (or anywhere else) since 2010.

Fresno pitchers limited Tacoma to just four hits – the third straight game in which Tacoma has had exactly four hits. If this streak continues, it’s going to be a long season for the Rainiers. One highlight was a home run by Eric Thames, his first of the year.

Fresno scored a big insurance run in the top of the eighth when Todd Linden hit an RBI triple.

Yes, that’s the same Todd Linden who was placed on the 7-day disabled list by Fresno just two days prior, on April 14.

It seems that Fresno found itself in a disabled list conundrum.

On the 14th, Linden was placed on the disabled list even though he was not hurt. Fresno had a roster crunch, and they didn’t want to release anyone or send anyone to Double-A, so they went to the veteran Linden and told him to sit out for a week.

This is common practice in Triple-A. Some teams do it a lot, others only occasionally, but everybody does it at least once or twice a year. It’s just part of Triple-A baseball – it even has a name, players and coaches call it the “phantom D.L.”

Story time! My first year in Tacoma (1999), the Rainiers placed some un-injured player – I can’t remember who – on the phantom disabled list. Like the good young radio guy I was, I went down to manager Dave Myers and asked what the player’s “injury” was. I still clearly remember Myers’ response: after a long pause, he says, “Hmmm. How about leg? Yeah, just say leg. Leg is always good.”

The night of the 14th – after Linden went on the DL –  things got strange. Outfielder Francisco Peguero really did get hurt, either in a pregame drill or in the previous night’s game. He did not play on the 14th or 15th.

Fresno first baseman Brett Pill is coming off knee surgery and needs to miss a game every now and then – doctor’s orders. So last night, Fresno had to rest Pill, and because Peguero was out they couldn’t move an outfielder in to play first base. They had nobody to play first.

Fresno was able to get clearance from the league to rescind the DL assignment of Linden, and place Peguero on the list instead.

That’s why Linden played even though I wrote yesterday that he was on the disabled list. It may seem like Fresno gained a competitive advantage, but I’m not so sure – they were actually at a disadvantage on the 14th and 15th in Tucson, when neither Peguero or Linden was able to play. In the end this is minor league baseball, and if a player is healthy and able to play, he should be allowed to play – even if there was some sort of paper-shuffling timing problem.

Of course, with the Rainiers luck right now, Linden had a crucial hit in a one-run game. Ugh.

Yesterday pitcher Yoervis Medina was called up by the Mariners, and he made his MLB debut against the Tigers.

Medina is the fifth player from the Rainiers opening day roster – just 13 days ago! – who is no longer here. Three are in the majors: Medina, Bobby LaFromboise, and Endy Chavez. Steven Hensley was traded, and D.J. Mitchell was DFA’d and elected free agency.

That means 20% of the Rainiers roster has turned over in less than two weeks. We always have a lot of transactions here, that’s part of Triple-A baseball, but it really seems like a lot for the first two weeks of the season – and it’s a big part of the reason why the Rainiers have lost five of the last six games.

Tonight’s game is at 7:05 pm, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP James Paxton (0-1, 6.23) against Fresno LHP Michael Kickham (0-0, 4.00) in a battle between touted starting pitching prospects.

Links:

  • The Rainiers game story from The News Tribune leads things off.
  • The Mariners lost to former Rainiers pitcher Doug Fister and his Detroit Tigers.
  • Larry Stone revisits the Doug Fister trade. Why, Larry? Why must you do this?
  • Michael Morse is playing despite a broken pinkie finger.
  • The Seattle Times has a proper news story on the Mariners purchasing a controlling interest in Root Sports.
  • At USS Mariner, the extremely intelligent marc w (trust me, if you knew what this guy’s real job is…) writes that the not TV deal is not a long-term guarantee of huge revenues, comparing it to the real estate bubble. However, it will certainly increase revenues for the next few years.
  • In the PCL, we saw some excellent pitching in tough ballparks last night. Example #1: Dan Straily pitched Sacramento to a 2-1 win at Las Vegas.
  • Example #2: Billy Buckner tossed seven shutout innings in a 4-0 Salt Lake win at Tucson. Four Tucson relievers are trying to get back to the big leagues.
  • Example #3: Reno’s Chase Anderson shut down Colorado Springs in a 5-2 win at Aces Ballpark, ending Reno’s seven-game losing streak.
  • Albuquerque topped Omaha in ten innings, 3-1. Matt Magill threw well for the ‘Topes.
  • Memphis lefty John Gast shut out New Orleans, 4-0. The Zephyrs have added former Rainiers and Mariners reliever David Aardsma to their roster.
  • Top prospect Jurickson Profar went bananas and his Round Rock Express defeated Oklahoma City, 8-6.
  • The Nashville paper has a feature on former Rainiers pitcher Chris Jakubauskas, who just ain’t giving up. Pleased to report that I spelled Jakubauskas correctly on the first try. Still got it!
  • Las Vegas manager Wally Backman should provide some, um, colorful moments this year. The Vegas paper has a feature on him.
  • Story of the day, from Tyler Kepner of The New York Times: 92-year-old baseball broadcaster Bob Wolff has saved a lot of archives, and they are awesome.

Hopefully the Rainiers can get a win tonight.

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