The Mariners made a major move with their bullpen Tuesday, demoting former closer Tom Wilhelmsen to AAA Tacoma and recalling RHP Carter Capps from the Rainiers. Wilhelmsen recorded 24 saves in 29 opportunities but allowed Boston to score four runs without getting an out in his last appearance Aug. 1. Wilhelmsen has not pitched for the Mariners since.
Capps, who turns 23 Wednesday, will begin a second stint with the Mariners after making the Opening Day roster. He appeared in 33 games, posting a 2-2, 6.37 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 35.1 innings pitched prior to being optioned to Tacoma July 10.
In seven games with the Rainiers, Capps allowed two earned runs in 11 innings (1.64 ERA). He last pitched Aug. 3 vs. Iowa, tossing 2.0 shutout innings.
Wilhelmsen, 29, learned of his demotion after Monday’s loss, when he also learned he would start today’s 11:30 a.m. game for the Rainiers in order to get more innings.
He is 0-3, 4.37 (23 ER, 47.1 IP). He converted eight consecutive save opportunities from July 3 to July 28 before his major meltdown in Boston in a non-save situation. Wilhelmsen walked 18 batters in his last 23.1 innings, after walking just 18 in his first 24.0 innings.
The Mariners also released outfielder Jason Bay, who appeared in 68 games, batting .204 (42-for-206) with six doubles, 11 home runs and 20 RBIs. Bay, who has played for San Diego (2003), Pittsburgh (2003-2008), Boston (2008-09), and the Mets (2010-2012), was designated for assignment July 29. He signed by Seattle as a free agent Dec. 12, 2012.
The Mariners, who lost 3-1 to Toronto Monday night, play the second of three against the Blue Jays Tuesday night at Safeco Field. Felix Hernandez (11-4, 2.30) will oppose RHP Josh Johnson (1-8, 6.60).