Justin Grimm didn’t last long on the mound for the Round Rock Express on Wednesday. He didn’t even make it through an inning.
Any other day, especially one where the Express (5-2) lost 3-2 to the Iowa Cubs (1-6) at Dell Diamond, that would have been a bad thing. However, Grimm received the call up to Arlington after the Texas Rangers placed pitcher Matt Harrison on the 15-day disabled list with a strained back. Grimm will replace him as the Rangers’ starter today in Seattle.
“(Harrison( is probably going to be out at least ten days, so Grimm might get a couple starts out of it and see what happens,” Express manager Bobby Jones said. “He pitched well for them last year, so hopefully he does (again) for his sake.”
Grimm went 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in 14 innings last year in his major league debut for the Rangers. On the mound for the Mariners will be American League Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez.
Tuesday’s arrival Ross Wolf replaced Grimm in the game Wednesday. The right-hander who threw 11 1/3 innings for the Express in 2012 pitched four shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out three batters. Wolf faced a jam in the second inning when he walked a batter and allowed a hit, but got out unharmed.
“We used him a couple times last year and would have loved to keep him here, but it’s a waste we had to send him back,” Jones said. “He knows what he’s doing. He’s been around for a while and pitched in the big leagues.”
Chris McGuiness drove in a run on sacrifice, and Eli Whiteside added another RBI in the second inning with a single to give the Express a 2-0 lead.
Whiteside, who has played in 746 career minor league games at catcher, is used to learning his with his battery partner on the fly.
“Obviously, (we) sit down before the game and have a game plan,” Whiteside said of his strategy dealing with new pitchers. “See what’s working in the bullpen and kind go from there.”
Neal Cotts pitched in relief and allowed back-to-back hits in the fifth inning, including a home run to Luis Flores and eventually loaded the bases. An error by Mike Olt gave the Cubs a one-run lead that won the game.
The Express loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but stranded all three runners.