By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
SEATTLE — It will be right-hander Blake Beavan on Tuesday for the Seattle Mariners in Texas as the replacement for injured James Paxton.
Manager Lloyd McClendon identified as Beavan as the club’s choice over rehabbing rookie Taijuan Walker prior to Saturday’s game against Oakland at Safeco Field.
“Beavan is throwing well (at Class AAA Tacoma),” McClendon said. “His last start was pretty darn good. We just thought he was physically ready to make the start.”
The flip side is a belief that Walker, the organization’s top prospect, requires additional time on his minor-league rehab assignment in his recovery from a sore shoulder.
“He needs to continue to get stronger,” McClendon said. “He needs to continue to command all of his pitches. He’s progressing well. We’re very pleased with where he is at this point.
“We just need to get that pitch count up, that pitchability up a little more.”
Actually, Walker is getting a promotion, too. He’ll shift from Class AA Jackson to fill the vacancy at Tacoma created by Beavan’s recall.
Beavan, 25, was a candidate for the rotation in spring training before some poor late outings prompted a decision to send him to Tacoma. He allowed three runs and nine hits over 13 innings in two starts for the Rainiers.
Plans call for Beavan to join the club Monday at Texas and be officially recalled prior to Tuesday’s game. The Mariners must make a corresponding space-clearing move at that point.
McClendon declined to confirm that move is likely to involve a reliever but did acknowledge the club is unlikely to continue carrying eight relievers for any length of time.
The need for a move surfaced Tuesday when Paxton suffered a strained back muscle that forced his departure in the sixth inning of a 5-3 victory over the Angels.
Beavan split each of the previous three years between the Mariners and Tacoma. He made 53 big-league appearances, including 43 starts, from 2011-13 while going 16-19 with a 4.61 ERA.
Walker, 21, entered spring camp as a favorite for the rotation but shoulder soreness, diagnosed as bursitis, forced a one-week shutdown from all throwing in early March and put him on a rehab schedule.
Iwakuma’s birthday bullpen
Hisashi Iwakuma marked his 33rd birthday by throwing a 45-pitch bullpen workout — his second session from a mound since being diagnosed in early February with a strained ligament in his middle finger.
“A little bit more,” he said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “Almost there. My ball felt a lot better today. It came out of my hand a lot better today.”
Iwakuma still hasn’t thrown his signature pitch, a split-finger fastball, from the mound. That will come Tuesday in a 55-pitch session in Texas. He said he isn’t concerned by the possible impact of the pitch on his finger.
“I’ve thrown the split when I’ve played catch,” he said. “I haven’t done it with a catcher sitting down, but on flat ground I’ve done that. So I don’t have any fear or anxiety.”
If all goes well Tuesday, Iwakuma could face hitters in a simulated game next weekend in Miami. That would be the final step prior to the start of a minor-league rehab assignment.
Noesi to Rangers
The Mariners could get another look this week at right-hander Hector Noesi, but it will be as an opponent after trading him to Texas for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
So ends Noesi’s once-promising but often-disappointing tenure with the Mariners following his Jan. 23, 2012 arrival from the Yankees with then-catcher Jesus Montero for pitchers Michael Pineda and Joe Campos.
The Mariners open a four-game series Monday at Texas.
Noesi, 27, spent much of last season at Class AAA Tacoma but, out of options, he pitched his way back onto the big-league club in spring training as the bullpen’s long reliever.
It didn’t last.
Noesi gave up two runs in one inning on April 2 in closing out an 8-2 victory over the Angels in Anaheim. One day later, he served up a walk-off homer to Coco Crisp in the 12th inning of a 3-2 loss to Oakland.
The Mariners designated him for assignment on April 4.
Noesi was 2-14 with a 6.13 ERA while appearing in 36 games for the Mariners, including 19 starts, over parts of three seasons.
Class Lo-A Clinton outfielder Austin Wilson was picked by Baseball America as its Prospect Hitter of the Day for Friday after going 4-for-5 with three RBI in a 7-1 victory over Fort Wayne (Padres).
Wilson, 22, was the Mariners’ second-round pick in 2013 and entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the organization’s No 2 non-pitching prospect behind third baseman D.J. Peterson.
It was 30 years ago Sunday — April 13, 1984 — that reliever Ed Vande Berg set a club record for pitchers by appearing in a seventh straight game.
Vande Berg faced one hitter, Kent Hrbek, and walked in the tying run in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss at Minnesota. Dave Beard then replaced Vande Berg and gave up a walk-of RBI single to Tom Brunansky.
Oddly, Vande Berg’s streak came in a season when he served as a starter (17 games) for the only time in his seven-year career.
The Mariners and A’s complete their three-game weekend series at 1:10 p.m. today at Safeco Field.
Veteran right-hander Chris Young (0-0 with a 0.00 ERA) makes his big-league start since Sept. 29, 2012 in a match-up against A’s lefty Scott Kazmir (2-0 and 2.03). Roots Sports will carry the game.