The Mariners didn’t wait long to start the project of resurrecting Tom Wilhelmsen in the minors. He was Tacoma’s starting pitcher today at Cheney Stadium, and had a rough outing against Iowa. In two innings, he gave up three hits (two of them home runs to two of the first three batters he faced) and three runs (all earned). The semi-bright spot, and I’m not being facetious, is that he struck out four and didn’t walk any. The walks had been killing Wilhelmsen, so it seems like a bit of progress. He threw 31 pitches, 21 for strikes. Mike Curto, Rainiers’ announcer, points out that this is Wilhelmsen’s Triple-A debut. He never made it that far while in the Brewers’ organization, and skipped that level during his rapid rise in the Mariners’ organization.
What I’m told is that the Mariners aren’t necessarily converting Wilhelmsen to starting. Rather, they believe that this gives him a chance to work on all of his pitches, and they’ll see how it progresses.
Meanwhile, the Mariners recalled Carter Capps to take Wilhelmsen’s spot in the bullpen. Since being optioned to Tacoma on July 10, Capps appeared in seven games, allowing two earned runs in 11 innings (1.64 ERA). Capps struck out nine and walked four. He last pitched on Aug. 3, working two shutout innings. Capps turns 23 tomorrow. He began the season in Seattle’s bullpen and appeared in 33 games, going 2-2 with a 6.37 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 35.1 innings. One of his downfalls was allowing left-handers to hit .351 off him with a 1.150 OPS.
In other moves announced today, Franklin Gutierrez returned from his rehab assignment with Tacoma but remains on the 15-day disabled list. And Jason Bay, DFA’d on July 29, was officially released by the Mariners.