SEATTLE (AP) -An early phone call Sunday morning put a different perspective on the worst start of Jeff Weaver's career.
Hours after Weaver gave up six runs and seven hits and got only one out in his fourth start with the Seattle Mariners, Weaver was jolted by a call from pitcher Randy Flores, his St. Louis teammate from last year, informing him about the death of Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock.
Quickly, Weaver's poor pitching performance didn't seem to mean so much.
``It kind of puts different things in perspective,'' Weaver said Sunday morning. ``Give up six runs in a third of an inning, then you see stuff or hear things like this and it makes it a little easier to handle things we think are difficult.''
Whether Weaver (0-4) remains in Seattle's rotation is an ongoing question that should be answered soon. Weaver has failed to pitch beyond the third inning in three of his four starts, continuing a career trend of struggling in the first month of the season.
But this April is a new low for Weaver, who signed a one-year, $8,325,000 contract to be the Mariners' No. 5 starter.
He allowed five straight hits to start Saturday's game, capped by Ross Gload's two-run double. He finally got an out when Emil Brown grounded to shortstop, bringing a hearty round of sarcastic cheers from the crowd. Weaver was pulled after Tony Pena Jr. floated a two-run single into right-center field.
Weaver has given up 23 earned runs and 31 hits in 11 1-3 innings for an 18.26 ERA, much worse than his previous April low. In 2000 with Detroit, Weaver was 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA the first month of the season.
Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said no decisions about Weaver have been made yet. He has an idea of how he would like to align his rotation, but had not discussed it with pitching coach Rafael Chaves before Sunday's series finale against Kansas City.
``We want to do what's best for him and the ballclub, but obviously the ballclub comes first,'' Hargrove said. ``We discussed a lot of things last night, and some things again today, and we'll come up with some sort of plan.''
Moving Weaver from the rotation would appear to be possible with Felix Hernandez expected to return from a muscle strain in his right forearm next weekend. The Mariners' schedule sets up for Weaver to potentially be skipped late in the week and have Hernandez return on May 5 at Yankee Stadium.
Should the rotation remain the same, Weaver would next pitch on Friday against the Yankees, his former team. Weaver has no interest in moving to the bullpen, but Hargrove noted that in most situations pitching regularly is the best solution.
``If Jeff was handling this like, 'Oh, poor me, feel so sorry for myself,' ... you'd have a lot less patience,'' Hargrove said. ``But he's not. His comment to me last night was how he was letting everyone down, his teammates, fans, everybody. He wants to help this ballclub be good.''
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