SEATTLE – The renewed desire for fresh arms in the Mariners’ bullpen meant right-hander Andrew Moore was likely headed back Saturday to Triple-A Tacoma no matter what happened Friday against the Los Angeles Angels.
That Moore gave up four runs in 1 2/3 innings in a 6-5 loss wasn’t the decisive major factor. It was, instead, that he threw 45 pitches, which meant he’d be unavailable to pitch again for at least a few days.
The Mariners filled their need for a fresh arm by promoting right-hander Christian Bergman to replace Moore prior to Saturday’s game against the Angels at Safeco Field.
Bergman hasn’t pitched since working seven innings on Tuesday for Tacoma in a no-decision against Nashville (Athletics).
“He’ll be available (Saturday) if we need him,” manager Scott Servais said. “He had some really good games for us last time, and sometimes he struggled.”
Bergman, 29, was 4-4 with a 5.44 ERA earlier this season in nine big-league games while pitching primarily as a starter. For now, though, he’ll join the bullpen as a long reliever.
Servais said the Mariners don’t yet have a starter lined up to replace injured James Paxton for Tuesday’s game against Baltimore. Paxton is expected to miss at least three weeks because of a strained left pectoral muscle.
Bergman is a candidate for that duty if he doesn’t pitch in the interim.
Servais reaffirmed on Saturday the Mariners plan to shuttle pitchers between Tacoma and the big leagues in order to keep fresh arms available.
“They’re trying to make as many guys down there available to us when we need them,” he said. “They’ve all been told that, which is really exciting if you’re in Triple-A, knowing that you’ve got a good chance to come back and impact us this year with important innings in important games.”
Those candidates include four recent acquisitions: left-hander Andrew Albers and right-handers Ernesto Frieri, Ryan Garton and Jeanmar Gomez. Right-hander Shae Simmons could also be activated from the 60-day disabled list.
Others in line for a summons include Dan Altavilla, Sam Gaviglio, Max Povse, Thyago Vieira and (after the required 10-day wait) Moore. All but Vieira previously spent time this season in the big leagues.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Servais said. “I’ve said it over and over. I don’t have the magic potion or formula. We have a plan, and we’ll try to go with that.”
Haniger goes out on rehab
Outfielder Mitch Haniger also departed on Saturday for Tacoma. He began a rehab assignment in his recovery from a facial laceration suffered July 22 when hit in the face by a pitch from Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.
Plans called for Haniger to serve Saturday as the designated hitter for the Rainiers against Reno (Diamondbacks) at Cheney Stadium.
Haniger, 26, batted .255 with seven homers and 24 RBIs in 58 games prior to his injury. He previously missed 6 1/2 weeks after suffering a strained right oblique muscle on April 25 in Detroit.
The maximum limit for a rehab assignment is 20 days for a non-pitcher. By starting Saturday, Haniger can remain at Tacoma through Aug. 31, which means he could be activated Sept. 1 without a corresponding space-clearing move.
MLB rules permit rosters to expand to 40 players on Sept. 1.
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