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Sergio Roma: Spark Again For Mariners Pen

MLB Seattle Mariners

Flushing, NY- Bullpen issues and injuries have been a burden for the Seattle Mariners and that has been attributed to their slow start. But Friday evening and prior to the Mariners three-game series with the Mets at Citi Field, 15-year veteran Sergio Roma was activated from the 10-day injured list.

And manager Scott Servais was happy to see a reliable righthander back in the clubhouse. It has been a long hall for Roma since signing a one-year deal with the Mariners a few days after the lockout with players and owners came to an end.

Sidelined since April 11, with inflammation in his right shoulder, Roma had very little time to adjust and acclimate to his new team after spending last season with the Oakland Athletics. Though a 39-year veteran with five other teams knows something about adjustment.

But the injury was a setback. Roma, though, worked his way back and is healthy. The arm is good and he expects to be coming out of the pen for those late innings that have always worked to perfection. Roma, recall, was instrumental as the setup man for closer Brian Wilson as the Giants won the 2010 World Series and posted a 1.50 earned run average in 2011.

“For the moment, I just ran out of gas, that’s why I said something.” Roma said Friday night before the Mariners 2-1 win over the Mets.”I did not feel right. They took a look at it.”

He admits age was a factor and a shorter spring training period took a toll on his veteran arm. Though you hear about other pitchers and read the transaction sheets, younger or older and they are hitting the injured list saying they were not being ramped up properly due to the brief spring schedule.

Roma, though, has never been one to make excuses and that came with a blown save or two during his career. The Mariners welcome his presence in the clubhouse and are enthused about their bullpen getting a key cog back on the mound.

He was ready to go if needed Friday night but it may have been too soon in a tight ballgame as the Mariners need wins. Servais said Roma will be put in a situation at the right time as he slowly works him back into the bullpen rotation.

Roma is content with the longevity of his career and pitching for the Mariners. He won’t be throwing fastballs at 95 or higher velocity. Two of his effective pitches, a curveball and changeup, that worked to perfection with the Giants are expected to continue.

Image Credit: Major League Baseball

“Only God knows if I have more time,” he said regarding his playing time. “For the moment what I’m doing physically I’m in a much better place. Always had a bunch of energy. I’ve been thinking real positively lately. I’m excited for the challenge. Glad to be back. It still feels good.”

“I got the breaking ball and the changeup going now. No going to over power anybody. Movement and control is my game now. I’m not going to trick anybody.”

Meaning, Roma will find the proper spots to throw his pitches and challenge the hitters. It has worked over the years, again, though, as Roma says, the game is younger and he is that crafty veteran who can still throw.

The son of Mexican parents. Roma grew up a Dodgers fan and attended four colleges. He was drafted in the 28th round of the 2005 draft by the Giants. The first Major League stint was in 2008 and 45 games for the Giants in 2009.

So this has been a long journey and perhaps the Mariners are his last stop. But Roma says his five sons, the oldest 16 and the youngest a year old, keep him motivated to continue back at home in San Francisco.

“Excited for the challenge, it never get easier,” he said. “ I’m excited for the challenge.”

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer with Latinosports.com. Twitter@Ring786 Facebook,com/Rich Mancuso Watch Rich and Robert “The Wiz” Rizzo live Tuesday evening 10pmET ParrotTV.com YouTube Live “Sports With Rich” Like, Comment, Subscribe.

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