Who is Yepez and where is Gray

With Gimenez on the DL and Olivo banged up the Mariners brought up veteran catcher Josh Bard and Jose Yepez from Tacoma to strengthen the backstop position. Bard played Wednesday and got two hits, but who is this Jose Yepez?

He is not a prospect. Not when you are a 30 years old catcher , having spent years toiling in the minors and Independent leagues. Medicine Hat, Dunedin, Charleston, Gary, Pensacola, West Tennessee, High Desert and Tacoma are some of his stops.

In 28 games at Tacoma this season he hit .276 with one homer. He is not a power hitter, hitting 35 homers in 611 games. Career minor league average is .268.  But now he is in the Bigs, something he can tell his kids about. He is here for an emergency, to back up Bard until Olivo is ready.

Then there is Jeff Gray. Manger Eric Wedge has set roles for pitchers and Gray is long relief. But the Mariner starters have been so adept at getting deep into games Gray doesn’t pitch much. In fact he has not been on the mound since June 11. Some managers would have used Gray just to keep him sharp. Not Wedge.

It is not a criticism. It is just his style. At the moment the Mariners have ten pitchers. There are five in the bullpen and with Pauley, Laffey, and Wright, getting most of the work trying to set up League, that Ray and Gray sit and wait.

Wedge is not following the book, the expected way of managing, though whoever wrote ‘the book’ on managing is one of those mysteries, and he may have been wrong in the first place.

I like managers who use players to win and Wedge has juggled the lineup and position of players to get the maximum out of a team with the worst offense in baseball. It must be frustrating, but he has steered a good course.


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