These could both stand as posts of their own, but those would be two really boring posts, so better to combine them into one. That's how you conquer boredom. Doing your taxes? Boring. Shopping for appliances? Boring. Doing your taxes at Sears? Weird.
First order of business: Don Wakamatsu has decided on his temporary Lee-less rotation, and it goes Felix Hernandez - Ian Snell - Ryan Rowland-Smith - Doug Fister - Jason Vargas. This, of course, is not set in stone, and some wheels could be set in motion if Cliff Lee's throwing session today doesn't go well, but as of right now, we'll have Felix/Snell/RRS/Fister in Oakland, Vargas/Felix/Snell in Texas, and then RRS tossing the home opener against the A's on the 12th. I, for one, am happy about seeing RRS instead of Snell, because the last time I watched Ian Snell at Safeco, I wanted it to be the last time I watched Ian Snell at Safeco.
Secondly, Luke French has been optioned to AAA. It makes sense that the team wants him to work as a starter, since we'll almost certainly need to call on that depth at some point, but it still comes as a bit of a surprise as it seemed like he was going to end up as the seventh reliever. What now?
1) Maybe the M's stick with the 11-man pitching staff idea. This is unlikely as long as Lee's unavailable, but we don't actually know which way the team is leaning. It's still very possible.
2) Alternatively, the M's could go with the 12-man staff, and give that open spot to someone else in house. The options right now are Chad Cordero, Jesus Colome, and Garrett Olson. Only Olson is on the 40-man roster, and he's also left-handed, but he's had a miserable spring after a miserable 2009. If the M's keep Cordero or Colome, they'll have to dump somebody else.
3) Finally, the M's could bring in someone from outside the organization. There are going to be a lot of players becoming available in the coming days as teams pare down their rosters. Guys getting DFA'd, released, whatever. The M's could pick up a starter and bump Fister to the bullpen, or they could pick up a reliever.
Ultimately, this bullpen slot isn't super important, and given good health for Lee, it shouldn't exist for very long, so it's not a big deal. But it is something to keep an eye on. This spring has been anything but predictable.