SEATTLE – Nobody needs to tell the Seattle Mariners how tough their opening stretch of games has been. They are 8-15 after Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Oakland A’s, a game that ended a schedule of 17 games in 17 days.
Today, when they fly to Detroit on a six-game road trip, is their first day off since April 8. You won’t find manager Eric Wedge complaining, however, about the schedule.
“I think sometimes it’s a good thing when you have to have a stretch like this early on in the season,” Wedge said. “It tests your toughness, both mentally and physically. You immediately get into the grind, so the next time you go through it you’re a little bit wiser for the wear.”
Lueke optioned, Cortes called up
The Mariners optioned struggling rookie relief pitcher Josh Lueke to Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday and replaced him by calling up right-handed reliever Dan Cortes.
The hard-throwing Cortes, whose lack of control made him one of the early cuts at spring training, had walked four and struck out nine in 8 1/3 innings with the Rainiers. He’s 1-0 with a 3.24 earned-run average.
Lueke, who allowed four runs Saturday night, has a 17.05 ERA in 6 1/3 innings of relief.
The Mariners also activated first baseman Justin Smoak from the bereavement list – his father died last week – and optioned outfielder Carlos Peguero to Tacoma. Peguero replaced Smoak on the roster when Smoak left the team last week.
Aardsma hit hard in rehab outing
Closer David Aardsma’s third rehab outing with the Tacoma Rainiers was a rough one Sunday, when he allowed four runs on three hits (including two doubles) and a walk in one-third of an inning.
Aardsma wrote on Twitter that he felt good pitching after one day off and that he was happy with his pitches, especially his splitter. “Give ’em credit for great at-bats,” he wrote.
Wedge had said Aardsma would need three or four outings with the Rainiers, although the Mariners didn’t say if he would make another rehab appearance. He’s working his way back after having surgery on his left hip in January.