By Larry LaRue The News Tribune
SEATTLE — No sooner had Eric Wedge announced the Seattle Mariners roster wouldn’t be expanded until Tuesday, outfielder Michael Saunders went down and the bullpen got worked hard.
Hello, Carlos Peguero and Erasmo Ramirez.
In need of depth, the Mariners recalled outfielder Peguero, who hit .285 with 21 home runs and 54 RBI in 76 games with AAA Tacoma.
Needing an emergency reliever in case of disaster Saturday, the Mariners went to Ramirez, who was 6-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 15 starts with the Rainiers.
Both would have come up once the Tacoma season ended Monday, but circumstances led to them getting here sooner.
In Peguero’s case, it was Saunders being pulled from the game Friday after making a running catch in right field and feeling ‘a pull’ in his groin.
Saunders wasn’t on the field Saturday and had missed six games with a groin strain before playing Friday.
“I thought I was ready, the staff thought I was ready, but you can’t play cautiously in the field,” Saunders said. “I don’t think it’s a setback, I think I’ll just need a few more days to get back where I need to be.”
Saunders has had a breakthrough season, improving in virtually every area of his game – he has 14 home runs and a team-leading 18 stolen bases – and shown he’s capable of playing center field.
Peguero will likely get selective at-bats against right-handed pitching, but is clearly a fourth outfielder behind Franklin Gutierrez, Eric Thames and Trayvon Robinson.
On Saturday, Peguero pinch-ran in the seventh inning for designated hitter Jesus Montero, then stayed in the game as DH. In his only at-bat, he struck out.
Ramirez has pitched in relief and in the rotation this season with Seattle, and could slide back into the rotation in September – in Kevin Millwood’s spot? – or remain in the bullpen.
Shortstop Brendan Ryan turned one of the most athletic double plays imaginable Saturday in the seventh inning.
With Erick Aybar at first base, Ryan broke to cover second base when Aybar ran on the pitch – only to have Alberto Callapso hit a chopper up the middle.
Ryan gloved the ball and slammed into Aybar, tagging him for the out, going down to a knee in the process. From his knees, he threw to first base to complete the double play.
“I pivoted on my knee,” Ryan said, and shrugged. “There was a little contact on the play, but it worked out.”
Since returning from the disabled list, Franklin Gutierrez has hit safely in four of five games, batting .333, and stolen three bases. “I think he has a calming influence on this team,” Wedge said. His .286 season average is the highest on the club. … The Mariners are 4-8 vs. the Angels this season, and in the last three years are 15-35 against Los Angeles.