Despite success, AquaSox tinkering with rotation

EVERETT — It’s been less than one time through the rotation, yet already the Everett AquaSox have begun tinkering with their starters.

Everett made its first change to the rotation just four games into the season, and more change could be coming soon as the Sox accommodate the Seattle Mariners’ high draft picks.

The first change came Monday when Tyler Olson, who wasn’t originally scheduled to be a member of the starting rotation, was given the start. Olson, a left-hander from Gonzaga University who was selected in the seventh round of this year’s draft, started in place of Steven Ewing.

“He’s a college pitcher who has four pitches and is throwing strikes,” Everett pitching coach Rich Dorman said about the reason for the change. “He deserved the opportunity. It’s his opportunity to see what he can do.”

Working on a pitch limit, Olson went just three innings Monday, allowing two runs and striking out five. The left-hander threw 1012/3 innings for Gonzaga University earlier this spring. But the plan is to keep Olson in the rotation and scale back the limitations.

“It was his first time in there and he hadn’t pitched in a couple weeks,” Dorman said about the short outing. “We’ll give him a couple games to get his pitch count up. He made a comment to me that it was the first start where he didn’t throw 110 pitches. So we’re just taking care of these guys.”

The other change that could happen involves left-hander Ryan Horstman. Dorman said the fourth-round pick out of St. John’s University might also be joining the rotation in the near future.

“As of right now, it looks like he possibly will be getting into the rotation,” Dorman said. “All signs point to him getting in there. So we’ll just let it play out as it is right now with what we’ve got, and we’ll get him ready to go.”

The changes have nothing to do with the performance of Everett’s starters so far. The Sox received solid outings from Rigoberto Garcia, Lars Huijer and Thyago Vieira in the first three games of the season, combining to allow just four runs in 162/3 innings as Everett swept the series. Even Ewing, who relieved Olson on Monday, performed well as he struck out six in 32/3 innings.

“They executed pretty good, considering that for most of them it was the first time pitching in front of pretty big crowds,” Dorman said about the first three starters. “It was fun for them, good experience. Now they can settle and just pitch and be who they are.”

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