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June 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Erasmo Ramirez hoping to deliver more innings for Mariners than previous starters have

PHOTO CAPTION: That’s Mariners second-round draft pick Joe DeCarlo taking infield grounders during batting practice today. DeCarlo just signed with the Mariners, one of seven picks in the top-10 to do so today.
Hardly a surprise to see Erasmo Ramirez bouncing around the clubhouse today, clearly the happiest looking Mariners guy in there. Ramirez, as expected, will start tomorrow night against the Padres while Kevin Millwood gets pushed back into the Saturday spot vacated by the demoted Blake Beavan.
Ramirez said it took him a while in Class AAA to get adjusted to starting again after he’d opened the season in Seattle’s bullpen. It was just fairly recently that he’d begun feeling entirely comfortable again and that’s when the innings began to pile up.
He also began working more at the pitching aspect of his game, not merely the strike-throwing he’d previously been known for. He gave up 11 runs in an outing last month and had to go back to some basics.
“That’s something I had to think about,” he said. “They gave me a couple of days to relax and figure out what I did and what I had to fix.
“For the next time, I was better. I kept my arm up, kept the ball down. The breaking ball — when it’s 1-2 and you’re ahead — you can’t throw too many balls around the strike zone. So, I started working on that and the last three games, I’ve been going deep. First six innings, then seven, then the last time, eight.
“I never go into it thinking ‘OK today I’m going to throw nine’,” he added. “I just go inning by inning, hitter by hitter. And when you see on the scoreboard ‘OK, it’s the seventh’ maybe you go eight, maybe you have a chance to go to the ninth if you don’t have too many pitches.”
Beavan was sent down because he was no longer delivering those innings and needs to hone an additional pitch he can use consistently along with his fastball and slider.
“I think he learned a great deal here in the short period of time he was here last year and this year,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “But he needs to really finish himself off down there. We’ve seen what he’s capable of doing with his fastball command. I mean, he’s pretty good when he’s on with that. But the secondary stuff needs to continue to come as something he can draw from on a regular basis. Whether it be ahead in the count or behind in the count.”

Steve Delabar is back up here after a couple of weeks in AAA spent working on his location and his slider so that he can get right-handers out more consistently. Delabar has been great against left-handers with his fastball and splitter. But right-handers have hit a bunch of home runs off him.
“I was mainly focusing on staying on top of the fastball,” he said. “Working it down in the zone. And that also helps the slider a little bit better.”
Delabar was happy with the overall quality of his stuff. But clearly, he had to try something different to generate better results.
“I’m hapy with my stuff,” he said. “Obviously location is a big key to giving up home runs. Leaving the ball up there, the ball is going to get hit. But overall, the split was go-to as far as putting guys away. The fastball, if it’s located well you can get anybody out with it.
“Just to add the slider and make it a little bit harder on those hitters, I feel good about that. What I’ve been able to accomplish the last week and a half.”



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