Lefty Andrew Albers’ solid start Tuesday in a 3-1 victory over Baltimore eased the growing anxiety over the Mariners’ rotation.
At least a little bit.
Albers limited the Orioles to one run in five innings in his first start since arriving from Atlanta in an Aug. 11 cash transaction — and that was deemed good enough to merit at least one more start.
Manager Scott Servais also confirmed the Mariners won’t use an open date Thursday to shuffle their rotation for the upcoming weekend series at Tampa Bay, which marks the start of a 12-game trip.
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Instead, everyone will stay in line.
"Albers will take the next turn," Servais said, "and we’re just going to roll them and give them the extra a day off. It might help some of these guys in where they’re are at this point in the season."
That means right-hander Erasmo Ramirez will face his former teammates in Friday’s series opener at Tropicana Field. The Mariners reacquired Ramirez from the Rays in a July 28 trade for veteran reliever Steve Cishek.
Ramirez limited the Angels to one unearned run over six innings on Aug. 12 in his previous start before the bullpen squandered a four-run lead in a 6-5 loss.
Ariel Miranda and Yovani Gallardo will start the final two games against the Rays, which puts Albers in line to face his previous organization, the Braves, when the Mariners open a three-game series on Aug. 21 at Atlanta.
The stops in Tampa Bay and Atlanta mark the first half of a four-city trip that continues with a three-game series against the Yankees in New York before concluding with three games in Baltimore.
The Mariners don’t return home until Sept. 1, when they open a three-game series against Oakland at Safeco Field. They play 15 of their final 27 games at home.
Club officials remain hopeful that James Paxton and, perhaps, Felix Hernandez could be ready to rejoin the rotation in early September.
Paxton underwent an another examination Tuesday on his strained left pectoral muscle that he termed encouraging. He suffered the injury Aug. 10 in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. The initial assessment pegged his recovery timetable at three weeks.
"It’s feeling much better," Paxton said. "I’m seeing Dr. (Edward) Khalfayan again in Friday, and I hope I’ll be cleared to start a throwing program so I can get back on the mound and help this team."
Hernandez is also scheduled for another examination Friday after bursitis returned in his shoulder and forced him to the disabled list for a second time this season.
This latest problem surfaced after a July 31 start at Texas, but Hernandez wasn’t placed on the disabled list until after an Aug. 7 examination by Khalfayan. Club officials, at the time, said Hernandez was expected to miss three-to-four weeks.
"I’m still hoping three weeks on Paxton," Servais said. "Felix is probably going to be a little bit longer."
SEAGER STILL AILING
Third baseman Kyle Seager missed a second straight game Wednesday because of what Servais characterized as a stomach virus.
"He’s still not feeling great," Servais said. "We’ve got to give him some time. We’ve got to give him some antibiotics or something. It’s some kind of infection. We’re hoping that with a day off (Thursday), that he’ll be in there Friday."
Danny Valencia started at third base in place of Seager. While Valencia played the position for much of his eight-year career, his last game at third base occurred more than a year ago — Aug. 14, 2016 while playing for Oakland.
BERGMAN TO TACOMA
Right-hander Christian Bergman is remaining with the organization after accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Tacoma.
Bergman cleared waivers after being designated for assignment Tuesday in order to clear space of the 40-man roster for Albers. Bergman, 29, was optioned Sunday to Tacoma after pitching four scoreless innings in a 4-2 loss to the Angels.
This marks the second time this season that the Mariners succeeded in having Bergman clear waivers after he was designated for assignment. He is 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 big-league appearances, including eight starts.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners