Not only has Jose Valverde secured a spot in the Mets’ bullpen six weeks after joining the team on a minor-league deal, manager Terry Collins said yesterday that the 36-year-old will begin the season as the primary setup man.
And with closer Bobby Parnell potentially not being available for a full workload as he returns from a herniated disk in his neck it’s possible that Valverde may even get some early season save opportunities.
It’s quite a comeback for Valverde, who had a 5.59 ERA in 20 appearances for the Tigers before being released last season and was largely viewed as an afterthought signing. Vic Black’s struggles opened the door for Valverde to grab hold of a bigger role and Papa Grande will try to show he’s got a little something left in the tank.
2019 has not been kind to the Seattle Mariners. After starting the year 13-2, the club has gone 41-71 since, earning last place in the AL West. To give credit where credit is due, however, the Mariners were on something of a roll, entering Wednesday afternoon’s series road trip finale against the Rays on a four-game winning streak. However, the M’s lost Wednesday’s contest in very depressing fashion.
Entering the top of the ninth inning, the Mariners trailed the Rays 5-3, but a solo homer by Daniel Vogelbach and a two-run triple by Mallex Smith sent them into the bottom half of the ninth leading 6-5. Manager Scott Servais sent Matt Magill — acquired from the Twins exactly one month ago — to the mound to close out the game.
Kevin Kiermaier greeted Magill rudely, starting the inning by swatting a game-tying solo home run to center field. Magill would then allow a single to Willy Adames and a double to Michael Brosseau before intentionally walking Ji-Man Choi to load the bases with no outs. Tommy Pham worked the count to 1-2 when Magill spiked a breaking ball in the dirt that catcher Omar Narváez had little hope of corralling. The ball skipped away and the Rays walked off 7-6 winners on a wild pitch, a very on-brand sentence for the 2019 Mariners.