He won’t know for sure who the Mariners would like until he gets a call.
Blake Beavan is an option -- with the Mariners out Hisashi Iwakuma, Taijuan Walker and now James Paxton -- and he pitched Wednesday even though James Gillheeney was scheduled to throw after his start was postponed Tuesday. Beavan threw 95 pitches through six innings, walked two and struck out two. The two runs allowed came on a 2-run home run in the sixth.
Not brilliant, sure, but it was good enough to impress Howell. Especially after Beavan threw a seven-inning complete game in the Rainiers opener Friday.
But it wasn’t necessarily an indication Beavan is headed to Seattle.
“As soon as the phone rings they are supposed to be ready,” Howell said. “With the way he’s been pitching …”
Howell paused to take the conversation back in his original direction.
“That’s the thing at this level, they just need to be ready. You have no idea as far as what they are looking at as far as matchups or whether they want a lefty or righty. They all know that they need to be ready and (Beavan) went out there today with that attitude.”
Beavan said he used his cutter effectively Wednesday, a pitch he said he added at the end of last year and worked on throughout the offseason and in the spring.
If he did, it didn’t work too well. He finished the spring 2-2 with a 6.46 ERA in five spring starts (23 2/3 innings). He was 0-2 with a 6.13 ERA in 12 appearances (2 starts) with the Mariners last season.
“I worked on it all offseason and spring and that’s what I’ve continued to work on the past two starts,” Beavan said of the cutter. “Not only against lefties, but now I’ve been trying it on righties.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a few outs with it. It’s just one of those things where I hope I can use it to get a few outs when I need in situations and it’s definitely another weapon against lefties.”
Other options for the Mariners rotation could include 23-year-old left-hander Anthony Fernandez (allowed 4 runs in 4 1/3 innings) or long reliever Zach Miner. Brandon Maurer is currently working out of the Rainers bullpen and it seems unlikely they’d bring him up as a starter when they appear to be working him as a long reliever.