BALTIMORE -- Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson hasn't made any official pronouncement about Danny Farquhar being the team's new closer, but the 25-year-old rookie right-hander got his second straight save in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Orioles and appears to be in line for more if he keeps producing in clutch situations.
Farquhar had 69 saves in his Minor League career, so he's familiar with the pressure of being on the mound in the ninth inning, and he says nothing much changed when he was called on to slam the door on the Orioles the past two days.
"To be honest, I was closing for maybe five years in the Minors and it's the same thing," said the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder. "The music gets loud, the crowd gets loud. You know, what's actually crazy is I went down to Venezuela last offseason and closed down there for a little bit. And the noise level down there, no Major League stadium can compare to it.
"I pitched in front of 45,000 on the Fourth of July in Texas [earlier this season] and I would say the 20,000 fans in Caracas trumped that night and day. The mound was moving. I got through a save there. So if you can get a save down there, it gets you ready for the big leagues. Baseball down there is everything. You have to go down there and compete and the pressure to win down there is like no other. The pressure of pitching down there definitely is crucial to my game."
Thompson said he'd go with a bullpen-by-committee approach after Tom Wilhelmsen struggled in a tough loss at Fenway Park when Seattle blew a five-run lead on Thursday, but Farquhar now has gotten the call in the first two save situations, even when the Orioles had several tough lefties lined up in the ninth on Saturday.
"You know what, this whole lefty-righty thing doesn't really bother me," said Farquhar. "I've got weapons for lefties, I've got weapons for righties. It doesn't really matter who is in the box; I'm going to attack them with what I've got and execute my pitches. That's the best I can do."
Farquhar, acquired from the Yankees in the Ichiro Suzuki trade last season, was called up in mid-May. While his ERA is 5.09 in 24 appearances, he's struck out 53 batters in 35 1/3 innings. And since July 21, he's allowed just two hits and no runs in 11 2/3 innings over seven outings, with 18 strikeouts and four walks.
"We've talked about mixing and matching, but he's been one of our most consistent arms out of the bullpen," Thompson said after Sunday's win. "Once again he got to the curveball and cutter, the four-seamer. We'll just try to ride it out as long as possible."
Wedge to return only when he's completely healthy
BALTIMORE -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge has been sidelined two weeks now after a minor stroke on July 22, and general manager Jack Zduriencik indicated Sunday that the third-year skipper won't be ready to return yet when the team opens a six-game homestand Monday.
Wedge, 45, remained in Seattle while the team traveled to Boston and Baltimore and will continue to undergo medical tests and be reevaluated in the coming days as he awaits full clearance.
Zduriencik said Wedge is doing well, but he doesn't want him to return to work until it's certain he'll be able to withstand the rigors of the job without any setbacks.
"I don't think Eric will be with us this week," Zduriencik said prior to Sunday's series finale with the Orioles. "I know he has a couple appointments ongoing. He's got something midweek where he's going to sit down with doctors.
"He's doing well. I talk to him every day and he sounds normal and he's excited to get back here. He wants to get back. But when Eric gets back, you want him to be back. His anxiousness to get back here in the dugout is one thing, but this is a life-long health issue for him. When he gets back managing this club, we want him to be here. You don't want him to come in here and be here for two or three days.
"The stress of a ballgame, the length of time a manager has to put in and the way he is -- he comes early and leaves late -- from our standpoint, they just need to sign off and say you're 100 percent ready to go so we don't have a bump in the road where he's out here 3-4 days and then has to take a step back. That's not fair to Eric or fair to the ballclub. I think we'll just wait and give it a little more time."
Zduriencik said he'll make a further determination when he sits down with Wedge upon returning to Seattle.
"I'll know more in the middle of the week and Eric will as well," Zduriencik said. "I'm anxious to get together with him as soon as I get back home and talk to him and see how he feels, and we'll address it at that time. But when he comes back, we want him to come back full-time and complete."
Injured Pryor shut down for remainder of season
BALTIMORE -- A tough season for Stephen Pryor got worse this weekend as general manager Jack Zduriencik said the right-handed reliever is being shut down for the year after tests revealed a problem with his triceps muscle.
Pryor, 24, has been sidelined since tearing the latissimus dorsi muscle behind his right shoulder. He recently pitched four Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Tacoma, but began experiencing more problems in the right arm and had an MRI test Saturday that showed the new injury.
"Unfortunately, Stephen is going to be shut down for the remainder of the year," Zduriencik said. "It's a tricep injury, not necessarily related to the lat muscle. But he had an MRI yesterday and they didn't like what they saw. He'll be reevaluated and we'll look through this thing further, because it's really unusual."
Pryor pitched seven games for Seattle at the start of the season and didn't allow a run, while surrendering just three hits in 7 1/3 innings. He appeared in 26 games last year as a rookie, going 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings with 27 strikeouts.
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kendrys Morales became just the third player in Mariners history with 15 or more hits over a five-game stretch when he went 2-for-5 in Saturday's 8-4 win. Morales is 15-for-22 over his last five games. Ichiro Suzuki had 16 hits in a five-game span in 2006 and 15 hits in five games in '04, while Alex Rodriguez had 15 hits in five games in April 1998.
• Hector Noesi threw six scoreless innings with five hits, two walks and five strikeouts and reliever Carter Capps had two perfect innings with three strikeouts as Triple-A Tacoma beat Iowa, 5-0, on Saturday.