Sports

Vargas has been workhorse in first half of season

Seattle starting pitcher Jason Vargas has already thrown over 100 innings. (Associated Press)
Seattle starting pitcher Jason Vargas has already thrown over 100 innings. (Associated Press)

Jason Vargas, the Mariners’ starting pitcher tonight against the Yankees, is approaching untested territory in the number of innings he has pitched and the M’s are monitoring him because of it.

Vargas, who’ll make his 17th start, has pitched 100 2/3 innings this season. His career high is 143 1/3 in 2009 when he split the season between the Mariners and Class AAA Tacoma.

“One of the things that’s always in the back of our minds is the amount of innings, but he doesn’t show a lot of signs of it,” manager Don Wakamatsu said.

Saturday’s start at Detroit, when Vargas lasted 4 1/3 innings, was his shortest of the season. That followed a five-inning start at Milwaukee.

While it was easy to suspect midseason fatigue, Vargas said after those starts that he was fine. And this week, he looked strong in his bullpen session.

“We think we’re on the right track, the rest is going to be monitoring him as best we can,” Wakamatsu said. “He has the ability with his cutter to defy some things and get through trouble.”

A man (not) on the run

It’s basic baseball protocol for a baserunner on first to steal if the runner ahead of him breaks for third. In fact, it’s usually a dream situation for a baserunner because the back end of a double-steal is almost always a freebie.

That didn’t happen in the eighth inning Tuesday night when Ichiro Suzuki remained on first base even though Jack Wilson stole third. Wilson ran on his own and Suzuki later said it was a difficult situation to read.

Wakamatsu agreed.

“Jack started to take off, there was a little stutter step, and then he went,” Wakamatsu said. “A guy at first base, the last thing he wants to do is start to go and get picked off because that guy all of a sudden pulls up.”



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