Tom Wilhelmsen seems not only to have established his pitching credentials with Seattle, but also as a go-to guy for quotes.
After the onetime Golden League (Tucson, AZ) hurler closed out the Mariners’ six-man no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers and 235-pound catcher Jesus Montero threw himself into Wilhelmsen’s arms the current closer told Reuters “that’s why Rocket (conditioning coach Allen Wirtala) makes us work out so much so we can lift those big guys like that”.
Wilhelmsen was handed the ball that ended the game, but told the media he was not sure what he would ultimately do with it since five teammates also had been on the mound. “Maybe I’ll chop it up six ways,” said the hurler, who was out of baseball for five years before coming back at Tucson.
Wilhelmsen picked up his first major league save a few days earlier when with the tying runs in scoring position in the eighth inning he got Albert Pujols on a fielder’s choice and struck out Mark Trumbo. “When you’re facing those two hitters in that situation, you can’t ask for anything more,” Manager Eric Wedge told reporter Danny Kelly. “He did a great job of making them work and then he had to finish it off in the ninth.” The right-hander has three consecutive saves now along with a 2-1 record, 3.38 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 32 innings.
(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball. Fans may subscribe for 2012 at reduced rates at WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy his blogs, AtlanticLeagueBaseball.com and IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)