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Mariners notebook: M's still mulling Monday's starter

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Bob Dutton
The News Tribune
Published:
The Mariners have “not yet” decided — in manager Lloyd McClendon's words — on a starting pitcher for Monday's game at Houston.
That slot in the rotation previously belonged to Erasmo Ramirez, who was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma after lasting just 4? innings Tuesday against Boston. The Mariners filled the roster slot by recalling reliever Brandon Maurer.
Taijuan Walker looms as the likely replacement after pitching a complete-game shutout Tuesday for Tacoma against Oklahoma City. Walker is currently with the Rainiers in El Paso, Texas.
“We have options,” McClendon said. “We just have to see who they are. We have options here or we could bring somebody (up). We'll have to figure that out.”
Former Frog suspended
Two minor-league outfielders, Jamal Austin and former Everett AquaSox Jabari Blash, received 50-game suspensions from Major League Baseball after each tested positive for a second time for a drug of abuse.
The suspensions, which are without pay, commence immediately.
Blash, 24, was batting .210 in 45 games at Class AAA Tacoma with 12 homers and 37 RBI. He was the Mariners' eighth-round pick in 2010.
Austin, 23, was batting .262 in 63 games at Double-A Jackson with one homer and 16 RBI. He was a 13th-round pick in 2011.
Short hops
Left-hander James Paxton threw a 25-pitch bullpen in his ongoing recovery from a strained back muscle. It was his first time on a mound since shoulder soreness surfaced after a May 24 rehab start for Tacoma. … The Indians announced left-hander T.J. House will start the series finale Sunday after pushing back Justin Masterson, who is battling a sore right knee. … The Mariners, entering Friday, led the American League with a .987 fielding percentage. … The Mariners already have secured a winning June (15-9 before Friday) and have posted a winning record in successive months (16-14 in May) for the first time since July-August 2012.
Minor details
Third baseman D.J. Peterson and right-hander Taijuan Walker were cited by Baseball America in its weekly Prospect Hot Sheet. It capped a big week for Peterson, who was chosen the California League player of the week prior to his promotion from Class A High Desert to Class AA Jackson.
Peterson went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk Thursday in his Jackson debut after batting .326 in 65 games at High Desert with 18 homers and 73 RBI.
Walker drew notice after his complete-game shutout for Tacoma in Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Oklahoma City.
Pro debuts
The Mariners' first two picks in the June draft, outfielders Alex Jackson and Gareth Morgan, had memorable pro debuts Thursday night in helping Peoria to a 10-8 victory over the Padres in the Arizona Rookie League.
Jackson, 18, batted third and served as the designated hitter while going 2-for-4 with a walk and a triple. He scored two runs and drove in two.
Morgan, 18, batted fifth and played right field. He was 1-for-3 with two walks, one run and three RBI.
Both players contributed to a three-run first inning with singles in their first at-bats. Jackson had a grounder into center to drive in the game's first run. Morgan added a two-run single on a line drive to right.
Looking back
It was one year ago Saturday — June 29, 2013 — that Mike Zunino's walk-off single in the 10th inning produced a 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs as a prelude to the first fireworks show in Safeco Field's history.
The game was also notable for shortstop Brad Miller making his major-league debut and Dustin Ackley making his first career start as an outfielder.
Miller went 0-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base. Ackley started in center field and handled two chances with no problems.

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