The Mariners played the White Sox today in Spring Training and won, 11-6. I know that if you look at the box score, the strangest thing to you might be that Willie Bloomquist is ON FIRE, but there's actually three other cool things to note:
1) Mike Morse hit a home run and today's his birthday. I guess he got the memo!
2) The Mariners actually won a game! Whee!
3) The winning pitcher for the Mariners was a guy named Brad Thomas. (Yeah, he got the win despite the 13.50 ERA for giving up 4 runs in 2.2 innings.)
That is, Brad Thomas. Big lefty who'd been pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Before you ask, as some already have, no, I don't really know what to constructively say about him, because I'm not a scout and I only saw him pitch in one game when I was in Japan last year. Of course, it was sort of impressive -- he struck out 5 guys in 2 innings, including striking out the side in the 7th, but he also gave up a run on an RBI ground rule double to Jeff Liefer that landed 5 feet away from me in the leftfield bleachers. (Yes, I took a picture of that ball, which was caught by the guy sitting next to me. But anyway.)
What's sort of funny about this move is that I'm not so much curious whether Brad Thomas will help the Mariners, but I'm actually more thinking about what a disaster the Fighters bullpen may be this year. I knew that Brad wasn't coming back to Japan since the Fighters didn't offer him another contract, but with their other big lefty relief guy Hideki Okajima coming to the MLB, and Masaru Takeda taking a place in the rotation, there's really not much left in the Fighters bullpen in terms of lefties. Top draft pick Ken Miyamoto's sort of gotten beaten around in spring training, the other Waseda lefty Yamamoto isn't doing much better, neither is Sunaga, and they just traded Shoda to the Hanshin Tigers.
Either way, maybe I'll try to corner Brad Thomas at a Rainiers (or Mariners?) game sometime this season and get him to sign my Fighters book from last year. Of course, I tried that when Ryan Rupe was in Tacoma with the Las Vegas team in 2005 (I saw him pitch for the Fighters in 2004) and that didn't work so well, so who knows.