The carousel keeps spinning in the Mariners’ quest to keep fresh arms in their bullpen.
When right-hander Casey Lawrence threw 63 pitches Tuesday after replacing an ineffective Christian Bergman, it virtually ensured Lawrence would be heading back to Triple-A Tacoma.
On cue, the Mariners confirmed Wednesday that Lawrence had been optioned, postgame, to the Rainiers in order to recall right-hander Chase De Jong, who will serve (for now) as the club’s long reliever.
“We’ve done this frequently,” manager Scott Servais admitted. “With our starting pitching being as banged up as it is, there have been some outings that have gone short. We’ve let the long man in our bullpen run with it.
“Unfortunately, when you do that, he’s going to be down for three or four days. In that case, we flip them out for somebody (fresh) who is on the 40-man roster. That’s how we’ve been able to stay afloat.
“It’s not ideal. It’s not the way I’d particularly like to do it. But about six weeks ago, we realized the situation we’re in, and we thought that was the best way to handle it.”
The Mariners had four starting pitchers on the disabled list for nearly a month before James Paxton returned May 31. Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma are on minor-league rehab assignments and could be back later this month.
Drew Smyly remains on a throwing program with a loose target date for a return around the All-Star break.
So the Mariners’ version of the 594 figures to remain in operation for a while.
De Jong is back for the fourth time this season. Lawrence was optioned to Tacoma for the third time since the Mariners acquired him in a May 11 waiver claim from Toronto.
“Chase De Jong is here today,” Servais said. “He knows his role. If we get into a bad game, or something happens early in the game, he’s probably going to be in there, and we’re going to run him. We’ll try not to burn through five bullpen guys.”
Other riders on the Seattle-to-Tacoma shuttle include Dillon Overton, Emilio Pagan, Ryne Harper, Tyler Cloyd and Rob Whalen. Just about anyone on the Mariners’ 40-man roster.
“Unfortunately, it’s not their fault,” Servais said. “The starter had the bad outing, and now the long guy has to wear it. And oftentimes, he’s wearing it with a plane ticket back to Triple-A.
“It’s not a great conversation to have, but I think the guys know where we’re at. They know what their role is when they get called up.”
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners