The Mariners added some triple-digit heat Monday to their bullpen by recalling right-hander Thyago Vieira from Triple-A Tacoma prior to their series opener against Baltimore at Safeco Field.
Vieira, 24, compiled a 3.18 ERA in seven outings for the Rainiers following a July 19 promotion from Double-A Arkansas, where he was 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA 29 games.
"Oh, yeah, I’m ready," Vieira said. "If the guys call you up, you have to be ready. When you have an opportunity, you have to prepare yourself for it. I’ve been ready of this moment. I have to show that right now."
The Mariners cleared space for Vieira by optioning veteran right-hander Christian Bergman to Tacoma after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
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That move was not unexpected.
Bergman threw 49 pitches over four scoreless innings, which effectively rendered him unavailable for the next two-to-three days.
While the Mariners technically "recalled" Vieira, that term applies simply to his status as a player on their 40-man roster who is in the minor leagues on an optional assignment. This is Vieira’s first trip to the big leagues.
"Big Sweat is in the house," manager Scott Servais said. "That was his nickname in spring training because he sweats a lot. Quite a journey from where he’s come from."
Vieira, 24, is now positioned to become just the fourth Brazilian-born player in MLB history.
The others are Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes (2012-current), Kansas City outfielder Paulo Orlando (2015-current) and pitcher Andre Rienzo (2013-15 with the Chicago White Sox and Miami).
"For me, it’s a really big jump," Vieira said. "Not just for me but for Brazilian baseball. Now, everybody can see we’ve got another guy in the big leagues. That’s good for me and for other guys."
Vieira’s name is pronounced ""chee-AH-go vee-AIR-ah," and he received a $65,000 bonus to sign with the Mariners as a 17-year-old on Sept. 21, 2010.
For five years, Vieira displayed a high-velocity arm but little else while he lingered in the low minors. That changed last season at Hi-A Bakersfield under the tutelage of pitching coach Ethan Katz.
"Every day, we worked on my slider and my fastball command," Vieira said earlier this season. "The towel drill helped me a lot because I was able to be more consistent in my motion. I have more confidence now.
"We changed the grip and how I finished my slider. Just throw it like my fastball."
Vieira displayed far better command at Bakersfield in compiling a 2.84 ERA in 34 games, but it wasn’t until the Arizona Fall League that he created a stir by flashing a 100-mph fastball and effective command on a consistent basis.
"When I came to the Fall League," he said, "I felt very confident. I told myself, `Don’t try to do too much. Just be you.’ I wanted to show the people who I am."
The Mariners placed Vieira on their 40-man roster in November just as he was leaving Arizona to return home to Brazil.
"My reaction was crazy," he recalled earlier this season. "After the Fall League, I had my flight to Brazil, and I was at the airport when the GM (Jerry Dipoto) called me. He told me, `We’re putting you on the 40-man roster.’
"I was like, `What? Really? That’s amazing.’ I was so happy. I called my wife and said, `Hey, I have good news for us.’"
Yes, he made a similar call Sunday night.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners