Seattle Mariners

Mariners activate Phelps, designate Martin for assignment

Outfielder Leonys Martin was designated for assignment Wednesday by the Mariners in order to clear roster space for reliever David Phelps.
Outfielder Leonys Martin was designated for assignment Wednesday by the Mariners in order to clear roster space for reliever David Phelps. AP

The Mariners bolstered their bullpen by rolling the dice on outfielder Leonys Martin prior to their series finale against the Braves in Atlanta.

Right-handed reliever David Phelps returned to the active roster Wednesday after missing 16 days because of an impingement in his elbow.

The Mariners cleared space for Phelps by designating Martin for assignment.

The move returns to the club to an eight-man bullpen while leaving the roster with just three healthy outfielders — in addition to utilityman Taylor Motter and designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

"It’s just where we’re at," manager Scott Servais said. "We do need to get back to the extra pitcher in our bullpen (because of) the inability of a lot of our starters to go deep. We’re taxing those guys (in the bullpen).

"Knowing that David Phelps is (just coming) back, we’re probably not going to be able to use him in back-to-back days for a little while."

Martin, 29, cleared waivers in April when designated for assignment and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Tacoma, where he batted .312 in 84 games prior to a July 30 return to the big leagues.

Since his return, Martin batted .230 in 19 games with three homers and eight RBIs. If he again clears waivers, Martin could remain with the organization and return when rosters expand in September (if not sooner).

"Certainly, Leonys, we love him," Servais said, "but that was the decision we made. I think it’s best for our club now. Obviously, if Leonys doesn't get claimed, he’d be back with us in September."

One reason that Martin cleared waivers in April was a reluctance by other clubs to pick up his $4.85 million guaranteed salary, but any club that now claims him would only be on the hook for about $1 million.

If Martin goes unclaimed on waivers, he can choose to become a free agent but, by doing so, would forfeit the balance of his salary.

Phelps 30, left an Aug. 6 game at Kansas City because of an elbow injury but experienced no problems Monday in pitching a simulated inning — i.e., facing batters in a controlled setting.

The Mariners acquired Phelps from Miami on July 20 in a trade for four minor-league players. He was 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in seven games for the Mariners prior to his injury and is 3-5 with a 3.33 ERA overall in 51 games.


Other watchpoints:

***Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (5-4 with a 4.52 ERA) is seeking a third straight string start when the Mariners conclude their three-game series against the Braves at 4:35 p.m. Pacific time in Atlanta. Ramirez permitted just one earned run over 12 inning in his last two starts.

***The Braves are starting veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (8-8, 3.96). He is a 15-year veteran who pitched for the Mariners in 2008, going 5-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 32 games, including 14 starts.

***The Mariners enter Wednesday’s game at 64-63 and trailing Minnesota by two games in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth. They also trail Los Angeles by 1 1/2 games and Kansas City by one-half game.

***Wednesday’s game marks the midway point for the Mariners in their 12-game trip through four cities. They are 3-2 after winning two of three at Tampa Bay and splitting the first two games against the Braves.

***After an open date Thursday, the Mariners’ trip resumes with three weekend games against the Yankees in New York before concluding next week with three games in Baltimore.


It was 35 years ago Wednesday — Aug. 23, 1982 — that Gaylord Perry was ejected in the seventh inning of a game against Boston at the Kingdome for throwing a pitch with the ball covered in Vaseline.

It was not only the first time that Perry, a noted spitballer, had ever been ejected for the violation. It was also the first time since that 1940s that a pitcher had been ejected from a major-league game for applying a foreign substance.

Perry received a 10-game suspension. The Mariners blew a two-run lead after Perry’s ejection and lost 4-3. Perry was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners