By Larry LaRue The News Tribune
SEATTLE — As promised, the Seattle Mariners adjusted their starting rotation for next week, with one rookie, Erasmo Ramirez, replacing another, Blake Beavan, for at least one start.
Manager Eric Wedge said Ramirez will start Tuesday in Toronto, against former Mariner Brandon Morrow, and that Hector Noesi would start — although he declined to say when.
That means, starting Saturday, the Mariners rotation was Hisashi Iwakuma, Jason Vargas, Erasmo Ramirez, Kevin Millwood and Felix Hernandez.
Ramirez, 22, is 0-2 with a 3.69 earned run average in 12 games with Seattle this season. He was the youngest player — 21 — on any opening day roster in the majors this season.
He was placed on the disabled list July 1 with a right flexor strain, and while with the Tacoma Rainiers went 6-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 15 starts.
“We liked the way he was throwing up here when he got hurt, and he’s pitched well in Tacoma, so we’d like to see him again,” Wedge said. “We’ll take another look at Noesi, too.”
The way pitching coach Carl Willis laid out the final 23 games of the season, Ramirez and Noesi are expected to get two starts each, while Beavan and Millwood will be skipped twice and make two or three starts the rest of the way.
The last time the Mariners had a player hit 15 home runs and steal at least 15 bases in a season was 2009, when Franklin Gutierrez did it.
This year, the team has two players — Michael Saunders and Kyle Seager — within range of 15-15.
Seager leads the team with 16 homers and has 13 stolen bases. Saunders has 14 homers and a team-high 18 stolen bases.
Since the All-Star break, catcher/designated hitter John Jaso has batted .283 with five home runs and 22 RBI, but on Saturday was not in the starting lineup.
Miguel Olivo was the DH. Why?
Olivo is batting just .207 against lefties this season, but Jaso is at .121 — having gone 4-for-33 against left-handers.
Part of it may be Safeco Field’s dimensions, but the 2012 Seattle pitching staff began play Saturday with a 2.90 earned run average home — the sixth-lowest home ERA in the majors since 2000. … Load ‘em up: Seager and Dustin Ackley are both batting .636 with the bases loaded this season, each having gone 7-for-11 in that situation. Seager’s 18 RBI with the bases loaded ranks third in the majors, behind Nelson Cruz and Andre Ethier, who each have 19. … Catchers Olivo, Jesus Montero and Jaso have combined to hit 23 home runs while playing behind the plate this year, one more than the previous catching record, set in 2000. … Add catchers: After batting .245 in the first half, Montero has batted .295 since the All-Star game.
Larry LaRue, The News Tribune