The Mariners, as expected, optioned struggling rookie starter Brandon Maurer to AAA Tacoma Thursday, a day after a shelling administered by San Diego. At the same time, the Mariners recalled infielder Alex Liddi from the Rainiers. He was available for Wednesday’s game at Petco Park.
The Mariners will make an additional roster move prior to Sunday’s game at Minnesota, the spot where Maurer was scheduled to pitch in the rotation.
Maurer, the 22-year-old rookie attempting to make the jump from AA ball to the majors, made 10 starts, going 2-7 with a 6.93 ERA. He started Tuesday against the Padres and surrendered six runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings.
“I don’t think he’s that far away,” manager Eric Wedge said of Maurer after Tuesday’s game. “It’s just a matter of what’s the best path to get him to a level of consistency.”
The path goes through Tacoma. Maurer is the third high-profile young player to walk it in the past week, following catcher/DH Jesus Montero and second baseman Dustin Ackley.
The 24-year-old Liddi batted .267 with eight doubles, two triples, nine homers and 37 RBIs in 50 games for the Rainiers. He mainly played third base (42 games, 41 starts), but also played first base and designated hitter.
Liddi played for the Mariners in each of the past two seasons, combining to bat .224 with six homers and 16 RBIs in 53 games. The Mariners originally signed the Sanremo, Italy, native as an international free agent Sept. 9, 2005.
The Mariners, who split a two-game series with San Diego at Safeco Field Monday and Tuesday, winning 9-0 and losing 6-1, begin a two-game set with the Padres Wednesday. The Mariners will follow with three at Minnesota before returning to Safeco Field Monday for three with the Chicago White Sox.