SEATTLE — The Rays received one bit of good news Saturday when RHP Jesse Crain (right shoulder strain) had a successful bullpen session.
Crain, acquired July 29 in a trade with the White Sox, threw 25 fastballs, and that gave head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield and manager Joe Maddon reason to smile.
“He looked really good, good carry on fastball, good delivery, no wincing or coming off at the end,” Maddon said. “I thought it was pretty good.”
Crain, who wore a full Rays uniform for the first time since he joined the team, was pleased with the big step in his return but tried to guard his optimism.
“I feel good that there’s definitely an opportunity for me to come back,” he said.
How Crain’s shoulder responds today will be the biggest indicator of the progress he is making. If all goes well, he is expected to throw another bullpen session Tuesday. If things continue to progress, Crain could join the Rays bullpen for the final week of the season.
Being able to throw off a mound is one of the biggest steps a pitcher with an arm injury can make, though Crain tried to downplay Saturday’s significance.
“I think every day so far is a bigger step, because I’ve definitely pushed it every single day,” Crain said. “I’ve put a little more on it and throw it a little further every single day, and the next day I come in and it’s recovered. I think that’s the big thing, how it’s recovered the next day.”
Crain was an All-Star this season while with the White Sox. Adding him to the bullpen will enable Maddon to better match up his relievers. But even Maddon’s optimism was guarded when talking about a role for Crain.
“It depends on what we get back,” Maddon said. “If we get a full Jesse Crain back, that’s quite a boost.”
No dog house
UTL Sean Rodriguez was in Saturday’s lineup despite contributing to Friday’s 6-4 loss by getting picked off second base for the first out in the eighth inning.
“Hopefully, it’s Joe saying I hear you’re the type of guy who can bounce back. Let me see it,” Rodriguez said before Saturday’s game.
Maddon said that wasn’t the reason.
“I’m not going to be punitive based on one play,” Maddon said. “He was our best matchup playing left field today versus a left-handed pitcher, that’s what he’s here for. I don’t have a dog house.”
Maddon called out Rodriguez after the game, something he rarely does publicly in his postgame interviews.
“You could strike out with the bases loaded, you could make a throwing error, you can hang a slider, you can do a lot of different things, but you can’t get picked off of second,” Maddon said.
Rodriguez owned up to the mistake after the game.
“There’s really no explanation,” Rodriguez said. “Just something that should never happen, and it did. Just straight messed-up play. I messed up.”
Rodriguez arrived at Safeco Field on Saturday hoping to see his name in the lineup.
“I just want a chance to basically contribute (Saturday),” he said. “He gave me the opportunity to do it (Friday), and I didn’t do that. Hopefully I can go out there and show something.”
Run, Delmon, run
DH Delmon Young started for the second straight game Saturday and might start again today even though the Mariners are throwing a right-hander.
Maddon likes the spark Young has added to the offense. He’s also been impressed with the way Young has run the bases.
“When he first came here, I asked him specifically how he feels about running. Running the bases, being pinch-run for, how he feels about defense,” Maddon said. “A little bit apprehensive, but honestly, since he’s been here with Ronnie and the boys he’s been a little bit better.”
Young’s home run Friday came 5 years, 348 days after his last home run as a Devil Ray. ... C Jose Molina picked off his 25th career base runner Friday. Only his brother Yadier (42) has more among active catchers.