Last Friday night, Aaron Laffey turned in a lousy relief appearance, which was his third lousy relief appearance in his last four. That was enough to earn him a demotion to the Rainiers, as the somewhat curiously recalled Dan Cortes.
Well, on Monday, the Mariners have found a way to have Laffey and Cortes co-exist:
Laffey is back but Ray to the 15 day dl with a strained right lat. Roster still at 24.
Laffey returns without having thrown a single pitch for the Rainiers, sure, but the lessons he's learned from this demotion can't be measured in "pitches". Laffey has learned about preparation, he's learned about expectations, he's learned about the need for dependability, and most of all, he's learned about respect. He's a changed man, a new man, a soldier in Eric Wedge's marching army. We can all expect him to look very different.
The casualty here is Chris Ray, who has strained a muscle near his shoulder. It's possible that we've seen the last of Chris Ray in 2011, as this is an injury that's knocked guys out for a couple months before. Of course, we don't know anything about the severity, so Ray could also be back in a few weeks. There was no hint of his being hurt when he pitched on Friday, as his velocity was fine over an extended appearance, but something must be wrong since I can't imagine the M's intended to reverse the Laffey decision this quickly.
If there's an upside to this for Ray, it's that now he has a little extra free time to drink a lot of the beer he helped brew. But the downside is that this isn't going to help him get a Major League job in 2012, especially if he's done for the year. Statistically, he hasn't been good since 2007, and the Tommy John recovery excuse is only good for so long.
Expect Ray to end up in another team's NRI pile next March. He'll bring a lot of valuable pile experience.