Notes: Jones a jack of all trades
Huber making way back slowly; bullpen bullying opposition
SEATTLE -- Adam Jones is more than a hitter.Sure, he was 2-for-4 with two runs scored in his first appearance with the Mariners on Friday, but that's not the main reason Seattle called up its top prospect prior to its win over the Red Sox. Jones gives the Mariners versatility, something every team in the heat of a pennant race dreams of having. He will not be an everyday player for the Mariners -- at least not right away -- but he does allow manager John McLaren to give players a much-needed rest. Friday, for example, Jones played left field for Raul Ibanez, who was given the day off. McLaren said he expects to play Jones in center Sunday, giving Ichiro Suzuki a day to rest his legs while acting as the designated hitter. The possibilities are many from there. Jose Vidro, who used to be an everyday infielder, could play second base for Jose Lopez, who grew weary down the stretch last season. Jones would also be able to pinch-hit or pinch-run whenever necessary, and is also familiar with the infield, as he was a shortstop in the Mariners organization until last season, when he switched to the outfield. Simply put, the Mariners are much more versatile than they were just a few days ago. "I knew there was something special about this kid, just watching him work out," McLaren said. "The dedication he showed behind the scenes, and supposedly no one was watching, but I was watching." Along with his arrival came some controversy, especially among veteran players who didn't want to see the team's chemistry disrupted. McLaren said he respects his veteran players' opinion, but he already knows he isn't going to start Jones every day. "I'm trying to run the best lineup out there every day to win the ballgame, and I think the players know that," McLaren said. "I respect our veteran players, they're the ones who have gotten us to this point, and I'll never lose sight of that." Friday's game was a somewhat surreal experience for the 22-year-old, who played in left field for the first time in his career. He recorded a single in each of his first two at-bats, and was instrumental on the basepaths for the Mariners. Even after having a night to reflect on it, Jones said it felt like his Major League debut repeated itself. "It was just a big blur, to tell you the truth," Jones said. "From the second I pulled into the park, to the moment I left, I just felt nothing but energy around here ... I really can't even describe it. I'm trying to, but I just can't." Trivia time: George Sherrill and J.J. Putz are tied for the team lead with a 1.38 ERA, and are competing for the lowest ERA in club history. What is the lowest ERA in Mariners history, who set the mark, and when did he set it? See below for the answer.
Hurlin' Huber: Mariners reliever Jon Huber, who has been on the disabled list since June 9 with a right forearm strain, threw a simulated game Saturday, and inched one step closer to returning to the team.Huber has not pitched in a big-league game since June 6, when he allowed one run on three hits in three innings. His recovery was slow after experiencing pain following a Minor League rehab appearance, but thing appear to be back on track. "We want to make sure there's no pain, there's no discomfort," said Mariners pitching coach Rafael Chaves. "He didn't show any." Huber will make three one-inning rehab appearances at Triple-A Tacoma, beginning Monday. McLaren said he will likely throw fewer pitches, mostly as a safeguard to avoid another setback. Bullpen bullies: Lately, the Mariners bullpen has had its way with the opposition. Relievers Sean Green, Sherrill, Eric O'Flaherty, Mark Lowe and Putz combined to toss five shutout innings Friday, allowing just two hits in the process. Green and O'Flaherty have a combined 12-1 record with a 2.81 ERA in 73 appearances. "I'm real happy that they've really pulled together," McLaren said of his bullpen. "They're a strong unit. They're like a strong army out there. They just come marching in, and they've done a great job." And the answer is: Shigetoshi Hasegawa is the Mariners' all-time leader in ERA, posting a 1.48 mark in the 2003 season. On deck: The Mariners wrap up their 10-game homestand with Game 3 against the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon. Righty Miguel Batista (11-7, 4.23 ERA) opposes right-hander Josh Beckett (13-5, 3.41 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PT.
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.