SEATTLE — It took a 40-pitch bullpen session from Aaron Harang on Friday for manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis to determine the newest addition to the Mariners was ready to join the starting rotation.
Before Friday’s game, Wedge announced that Harang, who the Mariners acquired in a trade from the Rockies on Thursday, will replace Blake Beavan in the rotation and start on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers. Beavan will assume the role of long reliever in the bullpen, something the Mariners haven’t had this season.
Harang, 34, went 10-10 with a 3.61 earned run average in 31 starts with the Dodgers. He pitched 179 2/3 innings, striking out 131 batters.
“He was up to over 100 pitches in spring training, he threw a simulated game the other day. He feels good, he looked good today,” Wedge said. “We felt like that was the right thing for him to do. Moving Beavan to the bullpen will give us some length there. Hopefully, it’s a win-win.”
For Harang, he’s just happy to be out of the baseball limbo he’d been trapped in for the last week.
After failing to make the Dodgers’ starting rotation out of spring training, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies for catcher Ramon Hernandez. The Rockies had no intention of keeping Harang and designated him for assignment after making the trade.
“Last Saturday I get a call from the Dodgers saying I’m traded to the Rockies and they call me five minutes later and say I’m getting designated,” Harang said. “They said, ‘We are going to wait around and we are definitely going to try to move you, so just stay ready.’ It was a little nerve-wracking.”
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound right-hander has pitched in 12 big league seasons with a career record of 105-104 with a 4.19 ERA.
“He’s a veteran guy,” Wedge said. “He knows what he has to do to go out there and be successful. He has a great feel for himself. He’s had a tremendous amount of success at the big-league level.”
Gutierrez gets a day off
Franklin Gutierrez was out of the lineup on Friday night. Wedge had planned to give Gutierrez Thursday night off but with Michael Saunders hurt, he kept Gutierrez in the lineup.
Gutierrez had started the last five games for Seattle, but has had sore hamstrings this season. With his past injury history, Wedge decided to rest him.
“This is just a day off,” Wedge said. “I don’t want to push it to the point where he takes a step back.”
Endy Chavez replaced Gutierrez in center field and at the lead-off spot.
“Endy has done a lot of that and he’s an experienced guy,” Wedge said.
Chavez has started 213 games at lead-off in his career.
Morse’s pinky healing
Michael Morse’s broken pinky on his right hand was taped to his ring finger, but the swelling in the area had gone down considerably when he showed off the damage.
“It feels a lot better,” Morse said. “It’s gone down a lot.”
Wedge said the timetable of the three to seven days for Morse’s return hasn’t changed.
“All the tests have been pretty positive,” Wedge said. “We’ll take a good look at him in the next couple days and go from there. It’s a lot better. All things considered, I think we’ve dodged a bullet.”