By Todd Dybas The New Tribune
SEATTLE — The Mariners sent right-handed starter Blake Beavan down to Class AAA Tacoma and recalled left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge on Wednesday.
Beavan was originally part of the back-end of the Mariners’ rotation to open the season, but pitched himself out of that role. In two starts, Beavan had a 9.60 ERA. The Mariners moved him to the bullpen to be long relief, which was needed since they had just one off day in April.
Beavan had relied on his fastball command as his primary weapon. Since last season, he’s been trying to refine his off-speed stuff.
The Mariners feel he’s made progress with his secondary pitches, but at the cost of using his fastball. With the May schedule less harsh, Hector Noesi in the bullpen as a possible long man and the back-end of the rotation still teetering, the Mariners sent Beavan down.
“Going down there gives him an opportunity to put it all together,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Luetge is back after being effective in Tacoma. After being optioned to Tacoma April 10, more because of roster needs and Luetge’s available options than results, Luetge made eight relief appearances with Tacoma and posted a 2.45 earned run average. Opponents hit .184 against him.
The trip was an odd one for Luetge. The Rainiers were in Sacramento when he was sent down, so he sat in his Seattle apartment for two days. The Mariners were on the way to Texas at the end of the month, a trip the Brenham, Texas, native was looking forward to. Luetge had to explain to family and friends he wouldn’t be making it this time.
“You can’t really dwell on it,” Luetge said of being sent down. “The worst thing you can do is go down there and be bitter.”
Same old same old?
Questions about the hitting of Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak persist. Questions about the Mariners offense in general are ongoing.
The club moved in a portion of the Safeco Field walls in order to help boost offense. Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse were signed for pop. Yet, the offensive results after one month, are very similar to last season’s.
The Mariners played 22 games last April and averaged 4.09 runs per game. After 29 April games this season, they are averaging 3.28 runs per game.
Last April, the team hit .244 and had a .384 slugging percentage. This April, the Mariners hit .242 and slugged .378.
Iwakuma swaps spots
Hisashi Iwakuma will start Saturday and Joe Saunders will start Sunday in Toronto. Those two are just swapping spots.
The Mariners are off today before starting a three-game series in Toronto as part of a five-game road swing that also stops in Pittsburgh. The last time the Mariners were in Pittsburgh was 2004.