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Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Mariners Notebook: M’s shake up pitching staff with a series of moves

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Thyago Vieira points skyward as he heads off the field after throwing against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Thyago Vieira points skyward as he heads off the field after throwing against the Baltimore Orioles in the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

SEATTLE – The Mariners didn’t stop Tuesday at simply making the necessary moves to add lefty Andrew Albers to their 25-man and 40-man roster.

They also recalled right-hander Sam Gaviglio while optioning right-handers Thyago Vieira and Casey Lawrence to Triple-A Tacoma. Veteran right-hander Christian Bergman was designated for assignment.

Gaviglio will, at least initially, serve as the bullpen’s long reliever — a duty that Lawrence and Bergman filled in recent days.

“Casey Lawrence did a really nice job again for us (Monday) night,” manager Scott Servais said. “We optioned him, and brought Sam Gaviglio back to serve in the bullpen as our length guy. He gives us length. He’s fresh and ready to go.

“We’ve seen what he can do when he’s on.”

The Mariners previously designated Bergman for assignment and, when he cleared waivers, kept him in the organization by sending him to the Rainiers on an outright assignment.

The same thing could happen again.

“The back end of our 40-man roster has been very fluid,” Servais said. “It’s had to be. I really don’t know the interest level that other teams may have, but I do not want to lose him. I don’t think anybody here does.

“If he does get picked up by somebody else, obviously that’s good for him.”

Bergman, 29, was optioned Monday to Tacoma after pitching four innings Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. He was 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA this season in 11 big-league games, including eight starts.

The Mariners signaled their intention Monday to select Albers, 31, from Tacoma by confirming plans for him to start Tuesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at Safeco Field.

Albers will be the 16th different pitcher this season to start a game for the Mariners. The franchise record is 17 in 1977.

The Mariners acquired Albers on Aug. 11 from Atlanta in a cash transaction. He was assigned to Tacoma but did not pitch for the Rainiers after going 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 games, including 17 starts, at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Vieira, 24, made his major-league debut Monday by pitching a scoreless ninth inning in an 11-3 loss to the Orioles. He loomed as a likely option candidate in order for the Mariners to add Albers to their 25-man active roster.

“Coming in (Monday),” Servais said, “we knew it was only going to be for a short time (for Vieira). We had roster moves coming up to create room for a starter. I thought he handled himself very well.”

Lawrence, 29, threw 74 pitches Monday in four innings, which also positioned him as a likely option candidate in order to add a fresh arm to the bullpen.

Gaviglio, 27, has not pitched since Aug. 9. He was 3-5 with a 4.52 ERA earlier this season in 12 big-league games, including 11 starts.

Seager Ailing

Third baseman Kyle Seager wasn’t in the starting lineup Tuesday because of what Servais characterized as a “stomach virus.” Utilityman Danny Espinosa started at third base.

Seager leads the Mariners this season in games and innings played. He is batting .255 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs.

“He hasn’t felt good for the last couple of days,” Servais said. “That’s one of the reasons we took him out of the game (Monday) night (after five innings).

Phelps Nears Return

Right-handed reliever David Phelps continues to progress toward a weekend return in his recovery for an impingement in his elbow, which surfaced Aug. 6 at Kansas City.

“Probably when we get to Tampa (this weekend),” Servais said, “he’ll throw off the mound there. If that goes well, you’ll see him activated pretty quickly.”

Phelps is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA in seven games since arriving in a July 20 trade from Miami for four minor-league players. He is 3-5 with a 3.33 ERA overall in 51 games.

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