SEATTLE — The Mariners have decided to shut down Class AAA Tacoma starter Danny Hultzen for 10 days.
The left-hander is in the midst of his second bout with left shoulder inflammation this season. Monday was his first day of the 10 without throwing.
“From what we’ve been told, this isn’t anything to be overly, overly alarmed about, but it’s something you certainly have to address,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “We’ve had a lot of different issues with him. Right now, I couldn’t tell you exactly what they are because he’s not going to throw for 10 days.”
Hultzen made just one start for the Rainiers, June 27, after coming off the seven-day disabled list. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft is 4-1 with a 2.20 earned run average in five starts for Class AAA Tacoma this season.
He had a minor hip injury in spring, but the shoulder issue is forcing the Mariners to alter routines with Hultzen.
The club will look at strengthening his shoulder, changing his throwing routine and even adjusting his mechanics. After his 10 days off, the Mariners will determine what small steps are next for him.
“You never want to overhaul anybody, I think that’s dangerous with pitchers,” Zduriencik said. “You do want to look at some of the programs that he’s doing and try to make some alterations with it. We’re prepared to do whatever it takes.”
Hultzen appeared to have a strong chance to join the Mariners’ rotation, particularly after his good start. Now, the club can only try to figure out what is causing his discomfort.
“I think this is a process where you do one thing, see where that leads you,” Zduriencik said. “Then take step two, step three. We’re hopeful that when he starts throwing, we’re going to see positive results. What I’ve heard is the last couple days he’s felt good.”
Ackley in the outfield
Dustin Ackley made his eighth start in center field on Tuesday at Safeco Field. But in the coming days you could see Ackley also play left field.
“They haven’t really told me when, but I played there a few games with Tacoma,” he said.
On Saturday, Wedge started Ackley in center field and Michael Saunders in left field, despite Saunders being the better center fielder. But that could be reversed in the future.
With Raul Ibanez only able to play left field defensively, it forces Wedge to be creative.
Wedge won’t use Ackley in right field because of the arm strength requirements and the tough angles that balls take.
“But there will be times, where we will put him left field in the future,” Wedge said.
In center field, Ackley is able to get his best jump on fly balls.
“It’s definitely easier in center to see the ball off the bat,” he said. “You can watch the ball all the way into the strike zone.”
Wedge is trying to make Ackley as comfortable as possible.
“As long as you are physically able to do it, from a speed and reaction standpoint, your best projection is from center,” Wedge said.
Zduriencik said that Tacoma starter Taijuan Walker is on a limited innings total for the season, but would not say what that number is. … Erasmo Ramirez was scratched from his start today for the Rainiers. Brian Sweeney will take his place, making Ramirez a likely candidate to join the Mariners for a start on Thursday. A spot in the rotation opened Monday when Jeremy Bonderman was designated for assignment.