The Mariners sent right-handed pitcher Blake Beavan down to Triple-A Tacoma and recalled left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge on Wednesday.
Beavan was originally part of the back end of the Mariners’ rotation to open the season but pitched himself out of that role. In two starts, Beavan had a 8.44 ERA. The Mariners moved him to the bullpen to be long relief, which was needed since they had just one off day in April.
Beavan had relied on his fastball command as his primary weapon. Since last season, he’s been trying to refine his off-speed stuff.
The Mariners feel he’s made progress with his secondary pitches but at the cost of using his fastball. With the May schedule less harsh, Hector Noesi in the bullpen as a possible long man and the rear of the rotation still teetering, the Mariners sent Beavan down.
“Going down there gives him an opportunity to put it all together,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Luetge is back after an effective stint in Tacoma. Since being optioned to Triple-A April 10, more because of roster needs and Luetge’s available options than results, Luetge made eight relief appearances with the Rainiers and posted a 2.45 ERA. Opponents hit just .184 against him.
The stay was an odd one for Luetge. The Rainiers were in Sacramento when he was sent down, so he sat idle in his Seattle apartment for two days. It also meant he had to miss the Mariners’ visit to Texas, a trip the Brenham, Texas, native was looking forward to. Luetge had to explain to family and friends he wouldn’t be making it this time.
“You can’t really dwell on it,” Luetge said of being sent down. “The worst thing you can do is go down there and be bitter.”
SAME OLD, SAME OLD?
Questions about the hitting ability of Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak persist. The same could be said about the Mariners’ offense in general.
The club moved in a portion of the Safeco Field walls in order to help boost offense. Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse were signed for pop. Yet, the offensive results after one month are very similar to last season’s.
The Mariners played 22 games last April and averaged 4.09 runs per game. After 29 April games this season, they are averaging 3.28 runs per game.
Last April, the team hit .238 and had a .375 slugging percentage. This April, the Mariners hit .242 and slugged .378.
IWAKUMA MOVES UP
Hisashi Iwakuma and Joe Saunders will swap starting spots this weekend in Toronto, with Iwakuma starting Saturday and Saunders on Sunday.
The Mariners are off today before starting a three-game series in Toronto as part of a five-game road swing that also stops in Pittsburgh. The last time the Mariners were in Pittsburgh was 2004.