Friday, August 29, 2008

Brandon Morrow to be Added to Mariners Rotation

The Mariners will add 24-year-old righty Brandon Morrow and his 100-mph fastball to the five-man rotation Monday, with his first start anticipated by Friday or Saturday when he looks to replace one of the team's struggling starters.

Morrow -- being converted from a relief role -- will appear in his sixth game for the Triple A Tacoma Raniers on Sunday before being promoted to watch Carlos Silva pitch in what may be among the last of Silva's appearances as a starter this year.

Silva is finally healthy after coming off the disabled list.

As part of a conditioning program to enable him to pitch deeper into games, Morrow has been stretched out to some 70 pitches in previous Pacific Coast League appearances, and has been given a minimum target of 80 pitches for his final minor league tuneup, the team told MLBnewsonline.

So far, Morrow has been hammered at Tacoma, where he has failed to reach the fifth inning in five appearances while sporting a 6.75 ERA with two losses. His strikeouts have been consistent, however, and the team prefers to believe that his 1.47 ERA in 36 innings of relief with the Mariners more accurately reflects his ability.

Morrow pitches fluidly in the high '90s, his fastball occasionally touching triple digits. His fastball is deadly when matched to a changeup clocked in the low '80s, and has enabled the team to project him to eventually become half of a deadly one-two power punch when paired with fireballing ace Felix Hernandez.

The decision to promote Morrow effectively locks him into the expanded, 40-man roster, along with fellow Raniers teammates Jorge Sosa and Ryan Feierabend. Feierabend has already made the rotation.

Silva -- a Twins castoff -- had been signed with an anticipation that he could offer the team complete games, eating up 200 innings for the season. With an ERA topping 6.00, however, Silva frequently has seen an early hook and will be fortunate to tally even 150 innings for the season, a major disappointment.

Silva -- a sinker baller who has been brilliant when able to hit his spots -- likely will be given a few more shots to prove he is worthy of his rotation slot for the remainder of the season, with starters Miguel Batista and R.A. Dickey also potential candidates for demotion to the bullpen to make room for the debut of youngsters, depending on whether lefty Jerrod Washburn is traded.

Silva gave up nine earned runs in fewer than four innings in his last outing, then complained of right triceps tendinitis.