SEATTLE — In order to keep him on his regular schedule, the Seattle Mariners optioned right-hander Taijuan Walker to Class AAA Tacoma, so that he can continue to pitch over the All-Star break.
The move isn’t permanent — McClendon said the 21-year old will make one or two starts for the Rainiers, and then be back for the Mariners series July 21-23 with the New York Mets.
“It just makes sense,” McClendon said. “We have a chance to bring an arm in for the next few days, just manipulate the roster and hopefully it works to our advantage a little bit.”
That arm is right-hander Stephen Pryor, whom the Mariners recalled from Tacoma in a corresponding move. The 24-year old appeared in 26 games for Seattle in 2012, and seven in 2013 before undergoing surgery to repair a back injury.
He started the year on the disabled list, and pitched four games for Jackson before moving to Tacoma, where he pitched in 26 games and had a 4.91 ERA.
Pryor said his arm feels good, that the last few weeks his pitching has started returning to the point where he wants it to be, and that his he’s taken the right steps to come back.
“I’m not hitting 100 on the gun,” he said. “But I think I can go out there and compete with what I have. I’ve hit 96 a few times, and I’m starting to fine-tune my command, and getting sharpness on my breaking ball.”
“I’m happy to be back,” he said. “I’m feeling healthy now, and I just hope I can contribute in some way.”
Today marks the 13th anniversary of the 2001 All-Star game held at Safeco Field. Mariners pitcher Freddy Garcia was the winning pitcher, and Kazuhiro Sasaki recorded the save for the AL. Eight Mariners were selected to the All-Star team: Sasaki, Garcia, Bret Boone, Mike Cameron, John Olerud, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki and Jeff Nelson, a team record.
Seattle wraps up a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins Thursday night at Safeco Field. Wilhemsen (1-1, 2.49 ERA) will face right-hander Yohan Pino (0-2, 4.98 ERA). The game will start at 7:10 p.m. and be broadcast on ROOT Sports.