Blake Beavan, who lost his job in the Mariners’ rotation after two starts, will go back to a starting role with Tacoma. Beavan was optioned to the Triple-A club today.
“He’s worked so hard on getting his secondary stuff better and more consistent, with better action. Now we want him to put that together with his fastball,” manager Eric Wedge said. “He got a little away from his fastball up here. That’s always been one of his biggest strengths is how he’s utilized his fastball. Going down is a good opportunity for him to put it all together and have the complete package.”
Hector Noesi is now the lone long man in the bullpen, but with their rugged stretch of games ending — the M’s are playing for the 30th time in 31 days tonight — there is no longer a pressing need for two long men. The Mariners established a club record, and tied a major-league record, with 29 games in April. The only other teams to do so were the Cardinals and Yankees in 2008. But now the Mariners have four off days (or travel days) over the next 12 days, beginning Thursday, when they fly to Toronto (not Tacoma, as I originally wrote). The Mariners play 17 of 26 games in May on the road.
“These guys need it,” Wedge said of the days off. “They fought through it in a strong fashion. No one’s been complaining. They’ve been men about it, worked hard, fought through some tough times, and are definitely heading in the right direction. We have a lot of guys headed in right direction, and now we’re going to have some sensible time off instead of the ridiculous time we didn’t’ have off in the first month. I think it all bodes well for us.”
Lucas Luetge, meanwhile, rejoins the Mariners bullpen after a stint in Tacoma. Luetge was sent down on April 15, right before the team was to embark on a road trip to Arlington and Houston. He lives near Houston.
“That was one of the tougher parts of it, just because we were going to Houston,” he said. “I had a lot of people texting me that week, and I had to sort of break the news to them, tell them I’ll be in Salt Lake, I can get you tickets there. They all understood.”
Another tough part of the demotion was that Tacoma was on the road, so the Mariners told Luetge to just chill at his Seattle apartment for two days until they got back.
“Not being on a team and sitting in my apartment all day was kind of tough,” he said. “But you can’t really dwell on it. It is what it is. The worst thing you can do is go down there and be bitter. I took it for what it was. I got to meet all the guys down there. We had a good time. I didn’t go through the minor leagues with this system, so it was nice to go down and meet a lot of people.”
But the nicest part was getting the call this morning from Tacoma manager Daren Brown that he was coming back up.
“I had to go down there and get my stuff, but that’s probably the best drive I’ve made down there,” he said.
The Mariners have decided that Hisashi Iwakuma’s next start will come Saturday in Toronto. Iwakuma had been tentatively scheduled for Sunday, but he will flip-flop with Joe Saunders. The Mariners have been monitoring the progress of the blister that has hampered Iwakuma all season.
Wedge was asked about Brandon Maurer’s dramatic splits. Lefties are hitting .358 off him with four homers and five doubles in 59 plate appearances. Righties are hitting .250 with one homer and four doubles in 69 plate appearances.
“I think he needs to alter his approach a little bit against lefties, in regards to what he’s throwing at certain points in time, his sequence,” Wedge said. “I think the left-handers are showing him that up here. We’ve seen that before, whether it’s young left-handed starters against right-handers, or the other way around like we’re seeing now. We’re going to be able to make that adjustment.”