Infielder Nick Franklin tweeted Wednesday night that he’s been optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma and will join the Rainiers for Thursday’s series opener at Las Vegas (Phillies).
Franklin tweeted: “Las Vegas here I come.”
There was no immediate confirmation from the Mariners on any transactions, but Franklin isn’t likely to the the only roster move prior to Friday’s series opener against Texas at Safeco Field.
Right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez is also facing a likely demotion to Tacoma after a series of poor starts left him at 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA.
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Manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed earlier that Ramirez’s job was in jeopardy: “That’s a fair assessment. I’m not sure what we’re going to do right now.”
Ramirez opened the season by holding the Angels to two runs in seven innings in an 8-3 victory at Anaheim. Since then: 0-3 in four starts while allowing 16 runs and 21 hits in 17 innings.
Outfielder Cole Gillespie is expected to be selected from the Rainiers and added to the roster. He created a stir by batting .433 in spring training and is currently batting .362 at Tacoma with five homers and 14 RBIs in 16 games.
The Mariners seem likely to replace Ramirez with a reliever because they won’t need a fifth starter, because of open dates, until May 2. Their hope is All-Star righty Hisashi Iwakuma might be ready at that point.
Iwakuma is slotted for a rehab start Sunday for Tacoma at Las Vegas in what could be the final test in his recovery from a strained ligament in his middle finger.
The only two relievers currently on the club’s 40-man roster are lefty Lucas Luetge and right-hander Stephen Pryor. Both are currently pitching at Tacoma.
Luetge, 27, made two appearances earlier this season after a previous recall. Pryor, 24, is battling to regain his form after missing most of last season following surgery to repair a torn back muscle.