Seattle Mariners right-handed reliever Shae Simmons had his most efficient rehab appearance in the middle of the Arkansas Travelers' 4-1 loss to the Springfield Cardinals on Friday night at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.
The Travs, who have now lost four of their last five, went 2 for 11 (.182) with runners in scoring position Friday. The Cardinals had a 4-0 lead before Travs shortstop Adam Law and center fielder Ian Miller hit consecutive doubles in the ninth to provide Arkansas' only run before an announced crowd of 5,580.
The Travs threatened in the seventh but were unable to score with the bases loaded when left fielder Chuck Taylor and designated hitter Dario Pizzano both struck out swinging to end the inning.
Simmons relieved Travs right-handed starter Lindsey Caughel (6-8, 4.78 ERA) in the sixth, after Caughel allowed two runs on a third-inning, 348-foot home run by second baseman Darren Seferina and a fourth-inning RBI single by shortstop Tommy Edman.
Simmons, who is returning from a right forearm strain he suffered during spring training, allowed 1 hit in 1 scoreless inning while striking out 2.
"I felt good," Simmons said. "It takes a little for things to start coming back to you. Each inning, I've managed to get a little better with the command. It's just getting back into that competitive atmosphere and really honing in on making certain pitches in certain counts."
Simmons' journey to the Mariners and injury history outlines the health issues, and seemingly poor luck, the club has had with their pitching staff.
Simmons missed the entire 2015 season and part of 2016 with the Atlanta Braves after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Braves traded Simmons to the Mariners on Jan. 11 along with outfielder Mallex Smith in exchange for two minor-league left-handers.
On March 13, Simmons suffered the forearm strain and was placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Then, on March 31, the Mariners were hit again when they lost left-hander Drew Smyly (Little Rock Central, Arkansas Razorbacks) for the entire season with a flexor strain on his left elbow. Smyly was acquired when the Mariners traded Smith to the Tampa Bay Rays on the same day they acquired him with Simmons.
By May 10, the Mariners had eight injured pitchers and had placed starters Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma on the 10-day disabled list with inflammations in their throwing shoulders.
"That's baseball," Simmons said. "Nobody knows when it's going to happen and who it's going to happen to. It's a matter of timing, I think. And there's not really anything you can do."
Hernandez returned to the rotation June 23 and has since gone 2-1 with a 4.13 ERA in 4 starts. The Mariners still have six pitchers on the disabled list, including Iwakuma and starter Ryan Weber, who suffered a right biceps strain March 13.
Seattle is 44-47, three games back in the wild-card race, and its 4.56 team ERA ranks 10th in the American League.
Simmons began his rehab appearances July 6, when he pitched one inning with the Rookie-League AZL Mariners. He allowed 1 hit in 1 scoreless inning while striking out 2 batters for AZL, then moved on to Arkansas, where he has given up 3 runs, 6 hits and 1 walk in 2 ⅔ innings while striking out 4 batters.
"I thought today was the best out of the three that we've seen him," said Travs Manager Daren Brown. "He'll be with us tomorrow. And we'll make decisions in the next day or two."
Sports on 07/15/2017
Print Headline: Travs' Simmons shines in loss