Fermin is a realist.
At 31, Fermin is well aware of his role with the Seattle Mariners. And he’s content with it, fully understanding that 19-year-old Alex Rodriguez is the shortstop of the Mariners’ future - near and distant.
“I try to make the most of it,” Fermin said. “I know Alex is going to be back in Seattle soon. I know he’s getting ready to play every day. The time I’m staying here I’m going to enjoy it.”
Fermin has made an impact with the Mariners since coming off the 15-day disabled list Saturday, the same day Rodriguez (hitting .333) was sent down to Tacoma. On Monday, his third start at shortstop since his return, Fermin made two outstanding catches and went 2 for 5 in the Mariners’ 8-7, 12-inning victory over the Yankees.
“I don’t feel like I’m 100 percent yet,” said Fermin, who didn’t start Tuesday night. “I’m getting better. As the season goes along I think I’m going to be the same Felix Fermin of last year.”
Last year, Fermin hit .317 with 35 RBI in 101 games. Fermin was hitting .237 with four RBI in 11 games before the game Tuesday.
Reliever Ron Villone was back in the Mariners’ clubhouse Tuesday, having been recalled after 11 games in Tacoma.
Villone was 0-0 with a 1.13 earned-run average and eight saves with the Rainiers.
To make room for the right-handed Villone, the Mariners optioned right-hander Tim Harikkala to Tacoma.
Trainer Rick Griffin says right fielder Jay Buhner could be back in the lineup as early as tonight after taking some time off to rest a tight left hamstring… . Dave Fleming will be back in the Mariners’ starting rotation on Seattle’s 10-day road trip that starts Friday in Boston. Fleming, in the bullpen since a 4-2 loss to Kansas City on May 16, will make his first start Tuesday in Baltimore. “Fleming’s starting to throw the ball well,” Piniella said of his left-hander, who has allowed just two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings in relief this season.
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