The Mariners just announced they have optioned right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow to Triple-A Tacoma to stretch him out so that he can become a starter. To take Morrow's spot on the roster, right-handed pitcher Jared Wells from the Rainiers was recalled.
"We have long viewed Brandon as a starter," acting GM Lee Pelekoudas said. "He pitched his way onto the team in 2007, giving us an opportunity to acclimate him to the majors in a relief role and, at the start of this season, we thought his greatest value to the team in 2008 was in the bullpen.
"However, as our season progressed and it became obvious we were not going to reach the goals we had entering this year, we began internal discussions on the best time to convert Brandon back to a starting role. We believe that giving him time to stretch out in Tacoma and then, hopefully, make some starts for the big league club before spending the 2008 off-season preparing to come to camp as a starting pitcher for 2009 is the best route for his development."
Morrow, 24, made 40 appearances in relief this season. He compiled a 1-2 mark with 10 saves and a 1.47 ERA, striking out 47 in 36.2 innings. Morrow, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2006 draft, is third in the American League in ERA among relievers. He did not allow a run in 35 of 40 appearances this season, and converted 10 of 12 save opportunities.
Wells, 26, was recalled from Tacoma on July 10 but did not appear in a game for the Mariners before being optioned back to Tacoma on July 11. Wells has 18 combined saves in AAA, tops in the Pacific Coast League.
He was acquired by Seattle from San Diego in exchange for RHP Cha Seung Baek on May 28 of this season. Wells was 0-3, 6.83 with nine saves in 25 relief appearances with the Rainiers since joining the club after the trade.