Looking toward making him a starter, relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez was sent down to AAA Tacoma Saturday by the Mariners, who replaced him on the major league roster with veteran Shawn Kelley.
At 22, the youngest player on the roster, Ramirez did well in seven relief appearances, giving up three earned runs in 11 innings (2.45 ERA) with four walks and five strikeouts. But his future may be in the rotation, possibly replacing either Hector Noesi or Kevin Millwood later in this month or June.
“We’re at the point in the season now where if we did need a spot starter, he wouldn’t be able to give us a great deal pitch-count wise,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said before the game against Minnesota Saturday. “So, we’ll get him down there, get him going. Plus, we want him to pitch a little more frequently as well.”
Kelley, 28, was a member of the 28-man roster that opened the season in Tokyo, but after giving up a massive home run to Oakland rookie slugger Yoenis Cespedes in a 3-1 loss March 29, was sent down to Tacoma when the roster was reduced to 25.
In nine games with the Rainiers, Kelley was 1-0, with a 1.23 ERA and four saves. He pitched 14.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs while striking out 19 and walking four. Kelley has not allowed a run in his last five games.
Kelley has spent parts of the past three seasons with the Mariners and underwent partial “Tommy John” elbow-ligament replacement surgery in August, 2010.