SEATTLE -- By entering Wednesday's relatively close game against the Twins with a man on second and no outs in the top of the eighth inning, Mariners reliever Jared Wells wasn't exactly given a soft landing in his first appearance with the ballclub. And while manager Jim Riggleman said he'd prefer a less intense situation for the initial outing, it didn't matter to Wells. "You're going to have to do it sooner or later," he said. "Whenever I'm needed ... that's what I'm going to do, try to do it the best I can without giving up any runs." Despite bobbling a bunt on his first batter and not managing to throw out the runner at third, Wells steadied himself and got through the final two innings, allowing just the inherited runner to score.
He struck out two batters and gave up a bunt hit during the outing, along with some hard-hit outs in the ninth inning. "It's always nerve-racking when you pitch for the first time with a new club," Riggleman said. "His reputation is that he keeps the ball down, and I think yesterday he didn't keep the ball down as well as he would like. "He's probably nervous and trying to throw big strikes instead of throwing sharp strikes. He wants to make sure he's throwing strikes, period. He finished up [Mike] Redmond with a real good slider. A couple balls got hit hard to [Adrian] Beltre. The balls were up. ... That's a good thing for him -- to realize that, 'Man, that ball was hit hard. That ball was up.' You gotta get the ball down." It's been quite a year for Wells, who made his Major League debut with San Diego on May 24 before being traded to the Mariners on May 28. He spent time in Triple-A Tacoma (including a one-day callup to Seattle in July when he didn't pitch) before coming back up to the Mariners on August 5. "Well, when it happened, it was more of a shock, because it was unexpected," he said of the trade. "But a trade is always a good thing if you look at it positively. There's a new start, clean slate kind of deal. So I was kind of excited once the shock kind of wore off." It's been a grind for Wells after getting drafted in the 31st round by San Diego in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. But this year he's finally made it, and since he's in the middle of his sixth active professional season and is out of options after this year, this stint with the Mariners could make him a desirable target for other teams if he doesn't fit into Seattle's long-term plans. "That's how it is every time you go out. ... You want to play to win, obviously, no matter where you're at," Wells said.
Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.