Here at Mariner Magic, we seemingly grumble hourly about the M's bullpen: "Grumble grumble Thornton...Nellie!! GRUMBLEGRUMBLE!!...Oh, Villooonne, Bullgrumble!"
However, 20 days from now, all grumbling may subside. I think I can speak for my two cohorts - I probably don't even have to ask - when I say that the unanimous Refusing To Lose bullpen favorite is none other than Rafael "No, not the Ninja Turtle with the red mask, the pitcher" Soriano. He's on the fast track, says the Seattle P-I. And he's coming to an Everett outdoor baseball facility near you.
Our fireballing boy wonder tossed his final simulated game yesterday. [Does that mean he played Nintendo against trainer Rick Griffin? And if so, was it RBI Baseball on the original, or Ken Griffey Jr. on Super?]
Get this: he looked so good against Hansen, Bloomquist and Borders that they immediately put the 20-day minor league rehabilitation phase in motion. Enough said.
My understatement quote of the week is from the newbie catcher, Rene Rivera: "It's better to catch him than to hit against him." Love that.
Soriano, Putz and Mateo are half of the future of the Mariners' bullpen. Mateo might be the top long reliever in the game. Putz and Soriano have the heaters for the back end. One will close (probably Soriano), and one will be the primary set-up man. Throw in a situational lefty (possibly Sherrill), and you have a good, young foundation.
But that's beside the point. With Raffy on the mend, we're going to have to step up the quantity and quality of our bullpen grumblings over the next few weeks...