Batista's health issues surprise Mariners
Right-hander complaining of pain in back and rib area
SAN DIEGO -- If veteran pitcher Miguel Batista experiences any sort of physical discomfort, interim manager Jim Riggleman, pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and the training staff would like to know about it.They were surprised to learn of the health issues Batista talked about following the brief and ineffective outing against the Mets on Wednesday night in New York. The right-hander surrendered eight runs in 2 2/3 innings in a game Seattle lost.
"This is frustrating," he said afterward. "It's embarrassing. I'm supposed to be helping the team win, but the way I'm pitching, it's not helping. I have to make sure I get myself healthy before I go out there again, because I'm the only guy trying to pitch through it. Everybody else, every time they feel pain, they go on the DL, or they take a rest, and I haven't."As of Friday night, there were no plans to put Batista on the 15-day disabled list. Lee Pelekoudas, the Mariners' interim general manager, was in the process late Friday afternoon of "researching" the information that Batista provided during his postgame interview with the media. "I have not had a chance to talk to Miguel about it, but if we ever have first-hand knowledge that a guy is having medical problems, we are not going to put them on the field," he said. Pelekoudas said he was unaware of the health issues Batista mentioned. Others also were in the dark. "I don't know what the terminology is, but [the health issues] slipped through the cracks a little bit," Riggleman said during his media session prior to the Mariners' Interleague series opener against the Padres. "We weren't aware of it. "I think he was just feeling something there and tried to gut it out and pitch. While I appreciate the effort, it probably would serve himself, and the team, better if he had it treated instead of trying to pitch through it." The 37-year-old Batista has complained several times this season about various aches and pains that first appeared during Spring Training. The latest heath issue, he said, is in his back and rib area. "It's kind of like the hole between my ribs and hip bone," he said. "It's frustrating in the fact it doesn't go away. I don't know what they're going to decide. I need to get healthy if I want to help. "In Atlanta, I was sore. It felt like I got hit by a baseball bat in my ribs. They said it was really tight, but more of a muscle issue. Spring Training was bad because my joints were inflamed, but now it's being on and off, on and off. We've been trying to exercise, but it's not working. I need to be able to pitch the way I know I can." Batista has not had nearly the same command of his pitches that he had last season when he led the Mariners with 16 wins and more times than not took the game into sixth or seventh inning. His record is 3-10 this season. "Most of my problem is my command," he said. "It's hard to throw a strike when it's your health. You can work on your mechanics, but when it's your health, it's a problem." Batista spent part of Friday afternoon in the trainers' room getting treatment. Head athletic trainer Rick Griffin told Riggleman that he believes the pitcher would be able to return to action in a couple of days. "I have a lot of confidence in Miguel," Riggleman said. "His history is so positive. We're not going to let some bad appearances cause him not to start, but I'm not sure whether we would start him. I think his health and how deep into the game he could get would have something to say about it, along with the availability of [R.A.] Dickey to pitch in that slot." Meanwhile, it appears that left-hander Erik Bedard has recovered from back spasms and will start Sunday's series finale against the Padres. He has been sidelined since departing after the third inning in his start against the Braves on June 20. Right-hander Felix Hernandez, who sustained a sprained left ankle Tuesday night in New York, has improved and is tentatively scheduled to start either Tuesday or Wednesday night against the Blue Jays at Safeco Field.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.