Notes: Bruised thumb sidelines Beltre
Burke's own trading card worth wait; Piniella in media glare
CHICAGO -- A bruised left thumb that has been bothering third baseman Adrian Beltre for more than a week has prompted the Mariners to give their starting third baseman "three to five days" off, hoping that it's enough time to get him back to 100 percent."The thumb is not getting any better," manager Mike Hargrove said prior to Wednesday night's game against the Cubs. "The fact of the matter is it has gotten a little bit worse as far as the pain is concerned, so we're going to shut him down." Hargrove said Beltre was available to pinch-run in Wednesday night's game, but that's about it. Beltre, batting .266 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs, reported to work on Wednesday afternoon at Wrigley Field wearing a hard plastic contraption on the thumb, which he injured while making a defensive play at Safeco Field on June 1. He has attempted to play through the pain, but it got so bad during Tuesday night's game that Beltre was removed for a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning. "We're going to give him three days, maybe five," Hargrove said, "and then see what happens." Hargrove said he would use Willie Bloomquist, and possibly Jose Vidro, at third base for the time being. Bloomquist, who delivered the go-ahead run in Tuesday night's game with a two-out single to right field in the 13th inning, started at third Wednesday night. "I'm a little reluctant to play Vidro at third, because he hasn't played there in forever," Hargrove said. "But he said if we need him, he could play there." Hargrove said treatment and rest are the primary factors for getting Beltre back to 100 percent, and he'll be held back for however long it takes. In the meantime, the Mariners will continue their unbeaten (5-0) road trip with 24 available players. There was some discussion about putting Beltre on the disabled list and promoting another pitcher. "We don't want to DL Beltre, because we think he'll be ready to play before that period [15 days] would be up," Hargrove said, "and the people we have available to make a change with are guys that are doing well for us here. We'll do the best we can."
Burke carded: Backup catcher Jamie Burke is a journeyman with much more service time in the Minor Leagues than the Majors and never has had his own Major League collector's card.Well, that's going to change next month. The 35-year-old Burke, who is batting .421 (16-for-38) as Kenji Johjima's backup, spent part of his Wednesday with representatives from Upper Deck, the company that's producing the card, which will become available to the public in July. "I'm excited about it, just because I grew up collecting baseball cards," Burke said. "I have a lot of 'em, including Mark McGwire's rookie card. Having my own is going to be pretty neat." Hanging in there: First-year Cubs manager Lou Piniella is learning quickly that life in the nation's Second City has some unexpected challenges. "It's not easy," he said of managing the Cubs. "It's a little more daunting than it looks from the outside. It really is. I guess it's because they haven't won here for so long. That's the reason. We have to change the culture." Good luck with that, but if anyone can do it, Piniella could be the one. His passion for winning remains as strong as it was when he managed the Mariners during their glory days, from 1995 through 2002. He wants to win for himself, but also for others. "I have grandmothers tell me, 'You know, I'm 90 years old. I haven't seen this team win. Will you please have some urgency?' I tell them, 'Look, I'm 63. I'm not going to manage much longer, [so] there's some urgency on my part, too.'" After playing and managing in New York, regarded as the toughest place to play and manage, Piniella said he has been surprised by two things in Chicago. "The demands and the media," he said. "This is a big city, and it's dominated by talk radio. I tell you what, when you get in that room after a game and you've lost a tough ballgame, they take their belt off." On the farm: Double-A West Tennessee outfielder Charlton Jimerson was named Southern League Player of the Week for June 4-10. Jimerson displayed an impressive combination of speed and power as he led the Southern League in home runs (four), hits (14) and RBIs (13), and he also stole four bases. He collected multiple hits in six of West Tennessee's seven games. Seven of the hits went for extra bases. The Mariners also have the California League Player of the Week in outfielder Mike Saunders, who hit four home runs and drove in 12 runs for Class A High Desert. His week-long barrage included a 5-for-5, five-RBI game. On deck: The three-game Interleague series ends Thursday with a matinee at Wrigley Field, featuring a pitching matchup of Jeff Weaver (0-6, 12.46) against Cubs right-hander Jason Marquis (5-3, 3.01).
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.