Ichiro has Bleeding Ulcer
He’s on the 15 day DL to start the season. No word yet on who fills the roster spot – the team already returned Reegie Corona to the Yankees, so he’s out. Michael Saunders isn’t healthy enough to start the season as an outfielder. Greg Halman isn’t ready for the majors.
Mike Morse, Mike Wilson, Chris Burke, and Prentice Redman are the non-roster options that are currently with the organization. The problem, though, is that all of those options would require adding the player to the 40 man roster. Only Wilson could be optioned back to the minors without being exposed to waivers, and the team probably doesn’t want to waste a 40 man roster spot on Wilson all year just to get him up for eight games. Or, they could get crazy and keep Jamie Burke as the backup catcher and have Rob Johnson be the fifth outfielder – he has a decent amount of experience in the OF during his Tacoma days.
On the free agent front, Geoff Jenkins is available, but with Ichiro only expected to miss eight games, he’ll probably want to wait for a job where he won’t be changing teams in a week.
As for the first week outfield, Endy Chavez will almost certainly play RF and lead off, leaving LF to be split between Griffey/Balentien. They really need a guy behind those two, though, because Griffey’s knees could easily force him into the DH spot if he’s sore, and you can’t play without a backup outfielder on the roster.
Additionally, this is why I’m not a fan of 12 man pitching staffs. With a four man bench, the M’s are limited to having four outfielders available on any day that Griffey is DH’ing. When someone becomes unavailable for a game, even due to something minor, it limits the attractiveness of using Griffey at DH, because then you’re left with no outfielders on the bench that day. At some point, the team is going to have to be willing to go with 11 pitchers, because a four man bench creates a lot of problems.
Oh, and thanks for releasing this news right as I hit post on my long diatribe below. That wasn’t inconvenient or anything