Wilson, Bradley getting close to returning
Club hopeful both can be in lineup Monday
CHICAGO -- Manager Don Wakamatsu said he's hopeful that shortstop Jack Wilson and left fielder Milton Bradley can return to the lineup on Monday in the series opener against the Royals in Kansas City.
Wakamatsu said Wilson, who injured his right thumb in Friday night's game against the White Sox, was available "as an emergency only" in Sunday's series finale, "but should be ready to go tomorrow."
As for Bradley, who missed the entire White Sox series, he did some pregame running to test his injured left calf.
"I am hoping that by [Monday] we will have just about everyone healthy again," Wakamatsu said.
Right-handed reliever Mark Lowe was unavailable Saturday night because of lower back spasms, but felt better on Sunday and was listed by Wakamatsu as questionable for the series finale.
The best medical news of the day could come out of Tacoma, Wash., where left-hander Cliff Lee made a rehab start.
"We will be monitoring Mr. Lee to see how he's doing," Wakamatsu said.
Lee will rejoin the Mariners on Monday and do some side work on Tuesday to prepare for his Friday night start against the Rangers at Safeco Field in his long-awaited regular-season debut.
Felix still a fan of Freddy
CHICAGO -- A previous commitment prevented Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez from having dinner Saturday night with his baseball idol.
So dining with Freddy Garcia will have to come later in the season, when the Mariners return to Chicago to play the White Sox.
Garcia, the former ace of the Mariners' pitching staff, is on the downslope of a solid Major League career, but looked to be in mid-career form Saturday afternoon, when he held the Mariners to two hits and two runs over seven innings.
"I still enjoy watching him pitch," Hernandez said. "He doesn't have the same stuff as back in the day, but he still knows how to pitch. He knows what he's doing and I think he's a great pitcher."
Hernandez, who wears the same No. 34 on his back that Garcia wore from 1998 to midway through the 2004 season, said he became a Freddy fan about 12 years ago.
"I was like 11 years old when I first saw him pitch," said Felix of his fellow Venezuelan. "He threw hard and I really liked the way he pitched. I wanted to be like that. He would go after hitters."
Hernandez developed into the same kind of pitcher.
"When I signed with the Mariners, they called me 'Little Freddy,'" Felix said. "They said I even looked like him."
Hernandez was 16 years old when he signed with the Mariners and was invited to Seattle for the official signing. He visited Safeco Field for the first time and met his idol.
"That was like, 'Wow,'" Felix said.
Garcia currently ranks third on the franchise's all-time win list with 76, which is just 16 more victories than Hernandez, who earlier this season passed Garcia in strikeouts with his 820th, moving into sole possession of fifth place.
An Aardsma shocker
CHICAGO -- There is good reason why the Mariners are so confident in closer David Aardsma and why it was so stunning on Saturday when he surrendered two home runs in the ninth inning, including a two-run, two-out walk-off blast to White Sox center fielder Alex Rios.
"I gave up three runs, that's all I'm thinking about,'" said Aardsma after his streak of consecutive converted saves ended at 16. "I don't care about the save. I don't care what you call it. You never want to go out there and give up the game-winning hit, no matter what inning it is."
Since becoming the main man at the end of games on May 15 of last season, replacing right-hander Brandon Morrow in that role, the Yankees' Mariano Rivera is the only American League reliever with more saves.
Rivera, a future Hall of Fame hurler, has 43 saves, two more than Aardsma, who shares second place with injured Twins closer Joe Nathan.
Angels closer Brian Fuentes ranks third with 40 saves.
The back-to-back walk-off home runs that ended the first two games of the series was the first time that has happened to the Mariners since Aug. 23-24, 2002, against the Indians at Jacobs Field. Tribe catcher Josh Bard, who now plays for Triple-A Tacoma, delivered a walk-off blast off James Baldwin and Karim Garcia did the same to Doug Creek the following game. ... Right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley was among the Mariners who saw replays of the ball that hit former Mariners pitcher Chris Jakubauskas in the back of the head on Saturday. The ball, hit by the Astros' Lance Berkman, hit Jak's head so flush that ball caromed back to the Pirates catcher. The pitcher went down in a heap and was carried off the field on a stretcher and spent the night at a Houston hospital. Kelley said he heard that his friend was experiencing some blurred vision as late as Sunday morning. The shot came on Jakubauskas' 12th pitch of his first start of the season. He was claimed off waivers from the Mariners last November.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.