Umpire Injury Causes Odd Situation

Injuries overshadowed baseball on Wednesday in the Rainiers exhibition game against Omaha.

The game was played on the backfields of the Kansas City Royals complex in Surprise! where the Omaha club plays its games.

Things started off normally enough, but then two injuries hit in a span of mere seconds during the seventh inning.

D.J. Peterson had fought off a tough two-strike pitch from Clayton Mortensen, looping down the right field line for a double.

With Dario Pizzano at the plate, Mortensen tried to pick Peterson off of second base. Peterson dived back in head-first, the pickoff throw was on the money and… the shortstop covering the base did not catch the ball. In fact, he didn’t come close to making contact with it, and the throw nailed Peterson in the back of the head.

Rainiers trainers Tom Newberg and B.J. Downie ran out to second base and took care of Peterson, who walked off the field under his own power and went into the dugout with the trainers. Play resumed.

Pizzano got back in the batters box, and foul tipped the next pitch – right off the bottom of the plate umpire’s face mask. It was a scary sight: the mask came flying off, and the umpire fell straight backwards behind the dish.

Downie and Newberg came flying out of the dugout again – this was a much more serious injury. Trainers from both teams tended to the umpire, who was eventually stretchered off the field by paramedics. Fortunately the umpire was responsive and moving his extremities throughout the process.

After about twenty minutes, the game resumed. We were down to one umpire, who handled the bases. Each team’s catcher called the balls and strikes.

Marcus Littlewood was the catcher/umpire when Tacoma was in the field, and Omaha’s catcher (I did not get his name) called the balls and strikes when Tacoma batted.

That was a new one for me – I’d never seen it before.

Don’t worry about D.J. Peterson – he’s fine, he stayed in the dugout and watched the rest of the game.

Aside from the flurry of injuries, it was an eventful day. Here’s the starting lineup:

  1. Boog Powell – CF
  2. Benji Gonzalez – SS
  3. D.J. Peterson – 1B
  4. Ed Lucas – 3B
  5. Dario Pizzano – DH
  6. Mike Dowd – C
  7. Leon Landry – RF
  8. Zach Shank – LF
  9. Patrick Brady – 2B

* mentioned this yesterday, but only a few of these guys will be with Tacoma on opening day, because the Mariners still have at least 15 players to send down.

Notes from the game:

  • Omaha started an established major league starting pitcher in Edinson Volquez, who was getting his work in the Triple-A game. He struggled – the Rainiers really got to him.
  • Omaha also had Washington native Travis Snider, who batted second in every inning until the sixth (he went 0-for-5, all against Adrian Sampson who pretty much owned him).
  • Sampson was one of the stars of the day. A likely member of the Rainiers starting rotation and possible opening day pitcher, Sampson lasted five innings and allowed two hits and one run – a solo homer by Dusty Coleman. He retired ten in a row at one point, and he kept getting Snider to roll over and hit soft grounders to the second baseman.
  • Leon Landry was the offensive star. He smoked a two-run triple to right-center off Volquez in the second inning. Against Volquez again in the fifth, he doubled hard to the gap in right-center. Later, Landry drew a walk and had a bunt single. A very productive day.
  • I got my first look at Boog Powell, and liked what I saw. He did not give in at all during his at-bats – twice he came up with two-strikes hits, going the opposite way to reach base. One of those ABs was against Volquez. However, he was gunned down trying to steal against the big league battery of Volquez and Drew Butera.
  • Dario Pizzano was all over the bases, reaching four times with three singles (one might have been an error but it was hit hard right at the shortstop) and a walk.

The Rainiers won the game, 6-5.


Early baseball today – the minor league side is playing games at 9:00 AM and then the staff is having meetings all afternoon. It’s that time of camp when the decision-making process begins, and a lot of discussion goes into determining which players go to which teams in the organization.


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