The Tacoma shuttle was back in operation Friday.
Pitcher Bob Wolcott, statistically the most hittable of Seattle Mariners starters, was optioned to the club’s Triple-A affiliate and replaced on the big-league roster by left-hander Mark Holzemer.
Wolcott, 2-2 with a 6.32 earned run average, was victimized by a seven-run inning in his last start, after which manager Lou Piniella announced a shakeup in the rotation - Wolcott out, Scott Sanders back in.
But rather than have Wolcott idle in the bullpen, the Mariners decided they wanted him to start in Tacoma.
Opponents are hitting .326 against Wolcott this season - 43 hits in 31 innings pitched.
“He needs to keep working,” Piniella said. “He needs to be able to get out of tough innings and situations.”
Holzemer, 27, was signed as a minor-league free agent in the off-season after nine seasons in the Angels organization.
At Tacoma, he had made 16 relief appearances and recorded five saves with a stingy 1.00 ERA just two earned runs in 18 innings. He had 18 strikeouts and just four walks.
To make room for Holzemer on the 40-man roster, the M’s designated right-hander Tim Harikkala for assignment. They now have 10 days to trade him, release him or have him clear waivers and remain in the organization.
Russ Davis’ stay on the bench was short-lived. He was back at third base Friday after Brent Gates started Wednesday and Thursday, Piniella’s reaction to Davis’ troubles in the field. Even with Davis out, Seattle’s fielding woes continued Thursday, with Joey Cora and Alex Rodriguez making errors in the same inning in a 4-3 loss to the White Sox. Seattle has now committed an error in 16 of its last 19 games, and the M’s total of 36 is the most in the AL. …
Heading into Friday’s game, the M’s were hitting .290 with runners in scoring position - but only .186 in the previous eight games. …
Mariners pitchers and catchers have the best caught-stealing ratio in the majors - 50 percent. , DataTimes