MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - INSIDE PITCH
The decision to designate right-hander Jeremy Bonderman for assignment had less to do with the veteran pitcher's recent struggles and more to do with what's been waiting in the wings.
The Mariners' Triple-A rotation is filled with starters waiting for a break, and right-hander Erasmo Ramirez had done everything to warrant a call-up. While no official move had been made as of Wednesday night, Ramirez looks like the logical choice to fill Bonderman's spot in the rotation and start Thursday's game against Boston.
Ramirez, 23, finished the 2012 season with four consecutive quality starts, going 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA in the process, but he lost out to rookie Brandon Maurer in the battle for a spot in this year's rotation. Ramirez ended up on the disabled list for Triple-A Tacoma due to a strained triceps muscle but has been solid (3-3, 3.09 ERA) since returning to action.
In Ramirez, Maurer and up-and-coming prospects James Paxton and Taijuan Walker, the Mariners have a few possible options for their rotation but have had a hard time pushing aside the current starters. Veterans Joe Saunders and Aaron Harang have done just enough to hold off the young competition, and so it was Bonderman who ended up being the odd man out.
Bonderman seems to have proven that he's past the 2010 Tommy John surgery that cost him two seasons, and for a long stretch in June he looked like a long-term solution for the Mariners.
However, struggles in back-to-back games ended up being Bonderman's downfall, and with Ramirez ready and waiting, there wasn't much reason to keep him around.
Bonderman, 30, might have some trade value because of his experience, but it's more likely that he'll end up getting released if he doesn't accept an assignment to Tacoma. Bonderman deserves another shot in the majors; it just won't be with a Seattle team that has plenty of young potential at its disposal.
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost two
PAST 10 GAMES: 5-5
NEXT: Red Sox (RHP Ryan Dempter, 5-8, 4.04) at Mariners (Erasmo Ramirez, 2013 debut)
--2B Nick Franklin came out of Wednesday's game because of a sore right knee that flared up in the seventh inning. "We'll see how he feels (Thursday)," manager Eric Wedge said. Franklin was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before SS Brendan Ryan took his spot in the batting order and homered in his first at-bat to lead off the eighth.
--RHP Stephen Pryor, who is currently on the 60-day disabled list due to a torn lat muscle, threw 25 pitches in a simulated-game situation Wednesday afternoon. "It was good," manager Eric Wedge said, adding that Pryor is scheduled to pitch another simulated game Saturday. There is still no timetable for Pryor's return.
--OF Michael Saunders has gotten well off Boston pitching this week. After a horrific two-month stretch -- he hit .204 in May and June -- Saunders has started to hit as of late, going 5-for-11 with three doubles and four RBIs in the first three games of the Red Sox series. He had a double in Wednesday's game.
--LHP Lucas Luetge still hasn't allowed an earned run since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma earlier this week, but his Wednesday outing was a bit misleading. Luetge entered the game in the sixth inning with two runners on base, and he gave up back-to-back singles to bring both inherited runners home before yielding a pair of unearned runs of his own.
--RHP Carter Capps had another rough outing out of the bullpen Wednesday night, even though he didn't allow a run for the first time in a month. Capps hit one batter and walked two others while loading the bases in the seventh inning. He ended up pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, marking the first time in six appearances he has not allowed a run. Since June 16, Capps has allowed 14 earned runs over 7 1/3 innings.
--SS Brendan Ryan got his first at-bat in five games Wednesday, and he made the most of it. After serving as a defensive replacement for 2B Nick Franklin in the seventh inning, Ryan came to the plate in the eighth and led off the inning with a home run. Ryan has had only eight at-bats since the Mariners promoted SS Brad Miller from Triple-A Tacoma on June 28 and made him their everyday starter.
--RHP Tom Wilhelmsen regained his closer's job last week, but his Wednesday performance left plenty of reason for concern. Wilhelmsen started the ninth inning in a non-save situation and had more of the control problems that plagued him in June. He walked the first two batters he faced, threw a wild pitch, then gave up back-to-back RBI singles in his worst outing since June 21.
--RHP Erasmo Ramirez is the likely starter in Thursday's game against Boston, although the Mariners still haven't made anything official. Ramirez is 3-3 with a 3.03 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Tacoma after struggling with a triceps injury early in the season. He looks like the probable fill-in for RHP Jeremy Bonderman, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, although the Mariners have to make another move to clear a roster spot before Thursday's game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Aaron struggled. He battled and tried to get through it. It wasn't a very good ballgame at all (for the team). We just didn't play very well." -- Manager Eric Wedge, on RHP Aaron Harang, who allowed seven runs in five-plus innings Wednesday in the Mariners' 11-4 loss to the Red Sox.
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - ROSTER REPORT
--2B Nick Franklin (sore right knee) left the July 10 game. He'll be re-evaluated July 11.
--1B/OF Michael Morse (strained right quadriceps) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 21. He did running drills July 2 but did not run the bases as planned before the July 5 game because of damp conditions at Great American Ball Park. He might begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma in mid-July.
--CF Franklin Gutierrez (torn right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list April 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on May 16. He was shut down in early June, but he began a new rehab assignment with Tacoma on June 12. He was activated June 22, but he had to come out in the seventh inning June 23 when his hamstring tightened up. He went back on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 24.
--C Jesus Sucre (sprained left wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6.
--RHP Stephen Pryor (torn right lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list April 15, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 17.
--C Jesus Montero (torn left meniscus) is expected to be out until late June or early July after undergoing surgery in early June. He isn't on the disabled list because he was optioned to the minors before he got injured.
RHP Felix Hernandez
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
LHP Joe Saunders
RHP Aaron Harang
RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
RHP Yoervis Medina
LHP Charlie Furbush
LHP Oliver Perez
RHP Carter Capps
RHP Danny Farquhar
RHP Blake Beavan
LHP Lucas Luetge
1B Justin Smoak
2B Nick Franklin
SS Brad Miller
3B Kyle Seager
DH Kendrys Morales
INF Brendan Ryan
CF Michael Saunders
RF Endy Chavez
LF Raul Ibanez
OF Jason Bay
OF/INF Dustin Ackley