By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Seattle Mariners, as expected, recalled pitchers James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez from Triple-A Tacoma prior to Tuesday’s game.
Paxton immediately reclaimed his spot in the rotation and started Tuesday’s game against the A’s at the O.co Coliseum. Ramirez will pitch as a long reliever over the season’s closing weeks.
The Mariners had to wait for Tacoma’s season to send before they could recall Paxton and Ramirez because neither had served the minimum 10 days in the minors after being optioned to the Rainiers.
Infielder Brad Miller drew a third straight start Tuesday largely because he shows signs of putting together an encouraging close to what has been a disappointing season.
Miller is batting .318 in limited action (7-for-18) in 12 games since Aug. 11. The mini-surge has him back on the north side of the Mendoza Line at .207 entering Tuesday’s game against the A’s.
The turnaround followed a 6-for-43 plunge over 16 games from July 7 to Aug. 7, which helped turn rookie Chris Taylor into the club’s starting shortstop.
Miller hit his ninth home run of the season in Monday’s loss, which means he needs just one more to become the fourth shortstop in franchise history to each double figures.
Alex Rodriguez did it five times. Rey Quinones did it twice, and Todd Cruz did it once.
Further, only one AL shortstop currently has more homers than Miller: Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez has 13.
The Mariners improved their odds of winning the World Series over the last month, according to Bovada, an online gaming service. The Mariners are now a 25-1 shot after being rated at 33-1 on Aug. 1.
Bovada installs the Los Angeles Angels as the favorite at 5-1, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers (11-2), Washington Nationals (7-1) and Baltimore Orioles and Oakland A’s (each at 8-1).
Despite a few shaky recent starts, Mariners ace Felix Hernandez remains a heavy favorite to be the American League’s Cy Young winner at 1-3 odds. Chicago lefty Chris Sale is second at 3-1.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano is Bovada’s second choice as the AL Most Valuable Player at 5-1. The heavy favorite is Angels outfielder Mike Trout at 1-2.
Overlooked, somewhat, in the Dodgers’ decision Monday to promote outfielder Joc Peterson, their top prospect, was they cleared space on their 40-man roster by designating ex-Mariners infielder Carlos Triunfel for assignment. … The A’s recalled left-hander Drew Pomeranz and first baseman Nate Freiman from Lo-A Beloit prior to Tuesday’s game. … The Angels selected the contract of former Mariners catcher John Buck from Triple-A Salt Lake City.
Double-A Jackson third baseman D.J. Peterson was picked as Baseball America’s prospect hitter of the day Monday after closing his season by going 4-for-6 with two homers and five RBI in a 13-6 victory over Montgomery.
Peterson, 22, was the club’s first-round pick in 2013 and is generally regarded its top non-pitching prospect. He opened the season with 65 games at Hi-A High Desert before playing 58 games at Jackson.
Combined numbers for 123 games: 31 homers and 111 RBIs and a .297 average. He also had a .360 on-base percentage and a .552 slugging percentage.
It was 38 years ago Wednesday — Sept. 3, 1976 — that the Mariners hired Darrell Johnson to be their first manager. He had been fired earlier in the year by Boston after guiding the Red Sox to the 1975 World Series.
Johnson, 48 at the time, managed the Mariners for three-plus seasons before getting fired on Aug. 3, 1980 with the club in a 5-22 spin. Maury Wills was Johnson’s replacement.
Johnson managed briefly again in 1982 when he guided the Rangers over their final 66 games as a replacement for Don Zimmer. Johnson finished with a 472-590 managerial record over parts of eight seasons.
He died, at age 75, in 2004.
The Mariners and A’s conclude their three-game series at 12:35 p.m. Wednesday at the O.co Coliseum. Right-hander Felix Hernandez (13-5 with a 2.33 ERA) will oppose Oakland lefty Jon Lester (13-9, 2.55).
Root Sports will televise the game.
The Mariners then head to Texas for four weekend games against the Rangers.