Cliff Lee to make his Mariners debut tonight

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He’s facing the Rangers and he’s more than ready.* He says “my sights have been set on them for several days now. I’m preparing the best I can for them.”

Lee threw six shutout innings during his rehab start for Tacoma on
Sunday, which suggests that the Cliff Lee we’ve seen the last two years
is who we’ll see tonight.  And it couldn’t come a moment too soon. Although the Mariners have gotten great pitching in Lee’s absence, they’re going to need spectacular pitching to overcome their offensive woes this summer. He’ll be on a pitch count tonight, but if he looks strong I wouldn’t expect it to last too terribly long into the season. The Mariners need him too badly.

*I would like to applaud the headline writer at MLB.com for correctly using the phrase “champing at the bit” in the headline of the linked article instead of the more frequent — and totally wrong — “chomping at the bit.”

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.