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Mariners option Andrew Moore to Tacoma to clear space for Felix Hernandez

Andrew Moore is heading back to Triple-A Tacoma but should return to the Mariners in early July.
Andrew Moore is heading back to Triple-A Tacoma but should return to the Mariners in early July. AP

One day after winning his big-league debut, Andrew Moore is heading back to Triple-A Tacoma.

Probably not for long, though.

The Mariners optioned Moore to the Rainiers on Friday in order to clear space on their 25-man roster for veteran Felix Hernandez, who was activated from the disabled list.

Hernandez is scheduled to start Friday’s series opener against Houston at Safeco Field. It will be his first big-league start since April 25, when he exited after two innings at Detroit because of what was later diagnosed as shoulder bursitis.

The decision to send Moore to Tacoma stems, largely, from a scheduling quirk that provides the Mariners with two open dates next week in a four-day span — the Mariners won’t need a fifth starter in their rotation until early July.

Moore, 23, allowed three runs in seven innings Thursday in a 9-6 victory over Detroit. He was 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA in eight starts at Tacoma prior to his promotion.

"Obviously, Andrew Moore did a great job for us (Thursday) night," manager Scott Servais said. "A tremendous debut, but we want to keep him pitching. We only need the four starters (until early July) with the off days we have coming up."

The Mariners are expected to recall Moore when their rotation returns to five starters, which should be July 3 or July 4 against Kansas City on the next homestand. He should make one start for Tacoma before returning.

Moore looms as the likely choice for that fifth spot because veteran Hisashi Iwakuma isn’t likely to return from the disabled list for at a couple of weeks after a setback June 19 in a rehab start at Tacoma.

The Mariners plan to recall Iwakuma from his rehab assignment at Tacoma to undergo further examinations on his sore shoulder.

"He’s also working on some mechanical things with (pitching coach) Mel (Stottlemyre) in addition to the shoulder not feeling good," general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "What’s coming out has been concerning.

"We’ve got to build him back up before we set him loose."

Hernandez was 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in five starts prior to his injury. He made three rehab starts at Tacoma prior to returning to active duty.

The Mariners’ tentative rotation going forward calls for Hernandez, Sam Gaviglio and Ariel Miranda to start the three weekend games against Houston.

After an open date Monday, James Paxton and Hernandez are slotted for the two games against Philadelphia.

With another open date after the two games against Philly, the Mariners’ tentative plans call for Gaviglio, Miranda and Paxton to pitch next weekend in the three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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