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Mariners look to save Aardsma's arm

Mariners look to save Aardsma

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SEATTLE -- The Mariners have played so many one-run games lately that manager Don Wakamatsu has been forced to use right-handed closer David Aardsma more times than he'd like.

Therefore, Aardsma was unavailable for Sunday's series finale against the Twins, but with Monday being a scheduled off-day, he'll be available on Tuesday night when the Mariners open a three-city, nine-game road trip in Baltimore against the Orioles.

Aardsma, who was drafted 22nd overall in 2003 (2009 Draft coverage Tuesday, live on MLB.com and MLB Network, begins at 3 p.m. PT), is 9-for-10 in save situations. He leads the pitching staff with 28 appearances this season, 10 of them since May 20.

"I think he has been tired the past couple of outings," Wakamatsu said. "My worry with 27 one-run ballgames is the long-term effect -- maybe not now, but in September and October."

The Mariners skipper is trying his best to keep Aardsma's important right arm from getting so tired that it takes several days off to recuperate. One too many times could have a long-term negative impact.

"We are going to be forced to put guys in situations you either haven't put them in before, or haven't developed total trust in that situation," Wakamatsu said. "We will have to do that a little more."

As an example, left-hander Garrett Olson became a situational lefty in Saturday afternoon's game, facing left-handed-hitting Twins sluggers Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. He retired both, ending one inning and starting the other with outs.

The Mariners have just one complete game this season (Chris Jakubauskas) and have played so many close games -- 27 one-run games and six two-run games -- that the relievers have come into tight games more often than not.

"With Aardsma, [Mark] Lowe and [Sean] White, we just cannot go down this road using them two games in every series," Wakamatsu said.

Lowe and White have pitched in 26 and 21 games apiece, ranking them second and third behind Aardsma.

Pitching matchup
SEA: LHP Jason Vargas (2-0, 1.93 ERA)
Vargas has yet to allow more than two earned runs in a game since joining the Mariners in May, surrendering just seven earned runs in 32 2/3 innings. Acquired in the three-team, 12-player trade with the Mets and Indians last December, Vargas has been arguably the biggest surprise of the season for the Mariners. He won't hit 90 mph on the radar gun, but he relies on pinpoint location, which has worked superbly so far. Vargas held the Orioles to two runs over 5 1/3 innings in his last start, six days earlier in Seattle.

BAL: RHP Brad Bergesen (2-2, 4.64 ERA)
With Koji Uehara's likely return to the starting rotation during the upcoming homestand, Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he wanted to keep Bergesen and Jeremy Guthrie as closely aligned to their normal routine as possible. Bergesen will be pitching on five days' rest and just threw a five-hitter over seven innings in Seattle last Wednesday, though he received a no-decision. Bergesen has put together back-to-back quality starts, allowing four runs on 12 hits over 15 innings for a 2.40 ERA.

Tidbits
Catcher Rob Johnson, who missed the final two games of the Twins series because of a bruised left foot caused by a foul ball, is expected to miss the Orioles series. ... Reliever Roy Corcoran, sidelined since April 30 with a neck injury, pitched one scoreless inning of relief in his first Minor League rehab outing. He could rejoin the team sometime during the week, Wakamatsu said. ... Ichiro Suzuki has 187 3-hit games in his MLB career, which started in 2001, and 50 more than Derek Jeter, who has the second-most 3-hit games over the same span. ... All six of Ken Griffey Jr.'s six hits off left-handers this season have gone for extra bases -- four home runs and two doubles. ... Of the first-round Draft selections in 1987, Griffey (the No. 1 overall pick) is the only one still playing. Among that class of first-round Draftees are: Jack McDowell (No. 5), Kevin Appier (No. 9); Mariners first-base coach Lee Tinsley (No. 11); Craig Biggio (No. 22) and former Mariners Mike Remlinger (No. 16) and Bill Haselman (No. 23). It also appears that Junior is the only player in the first 10 rounds of the '87 Draft still playing.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN

On radio
• 710 ESPN

Up next
• Wednesday: Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 5-3, 3.22) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 4-5, 5.61), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Mariners (Ryan Rowland-Smith, 0-0, 0.00) at Orioles (Koji Uehara, 2-3, 4.09), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Friday: Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 3-4, 3.07) at Rockies (TBD), 6:10 p.m. PT

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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