Benoit ready to resume setup role

Right-hander has been out due to shoulder soreness

April 16th, 2016
Joaquin Benoit made his Mariners debut on April 6. (AP)

NEW YORK -- After being shut down the past week with a sore right shoulder, veteran right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit said he felt ready to return as the Mariners opened a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday.

The 38-year-old was acquired by Seattle over the offseason to fill the right-handed setup role, but he has been unavailable since throwing a pair of scoreless innings in the season's first four games.

Benoit was slated to play catch prior to Friday's 7-1 win as a last precaution, but he expected to be cleared to go. He did not appear in Friday's game.

"I believe if everything is good today, then I'll be up pitching," he said.

With Benoit sidelined, the Mariners used Joel Peralta in the eighth inning in two games last week with one-run leads and the 40-year-old gave up solo home runs both times. Manager Scott Servais acknowledged that getting Benoit back in the late-inning mix will be crucial.

"He's really key," Servais said. "But the big thing is he's moving in the right direction. Early last week when I first got the news he was going to be down for a day or two, I was a little worried. But it seems like he's responded to the treatment and stretching the doctors have done. So we're in good shape."

Worth noting

• When Dae-Ho Lee homered in the 10th inning to beat the Rangers, 4-2, in Wednesday's series finale at Safeco, he became the oldest rookie (33) to hit a walk-off homer since Luke Easter did it at age 35 for the Indians in 1950.

Lee, a native of Korea, also became the first Asian-born player in MLB history with a pinch-hit walk-off home run.

• Going into Friday's action, Seth Smith was two home runs shy of reaching 100 for his career, while Kyle Seager needs three long balls to hit the century mark for his career.

• Closer Steve Cishek picked up the win Wednesday with a two-inning outing when he threw 27 pitches in a perfect ninth and 10th against the Rangers with three strikeouts, but Servais said he won't often use the right-hander in multiple-inning situations.

"We ran him back out there because it was a quick first inning where he didn't seem like he extended himself," Servais said. "The pitches weren't up crazy. Kind of where we were at with the off-day the next day, a lot of things lined up, so hey, let's run him back out there again. I don't see it happening a lot."