Mariners activate Vincent as bullpen nears full strength

Seattle optioned right-hander Ryan Cook to to Triple-A Tacoma to complete the move.

By TJ Cotterill

The News Tribune

As expected, Nick Vincent is back on the Seattle Mariners’ active roster. The right-handed reliever was activated from the disabled list Friday ahead of the team’s three-game series in Boston against the Red Sox.

Vincent pitched to batting-practice hitters on Wednesday because Double-A Arkansas’ game was rained out. He tossed a scoreless inning of relief in his first rehab stint with the Travelers on Monday while putting the finishing touches on his recovery from a strained right groin.

This means the Mariners finally have the back-end of their bullpen — Edwin Diaz, Alex Colome, Juan Nicasio and Vincent — healthy. Nicasio was activated from the DL on Monday.

The Mariners had to make a corresponding move to create space on the active, 25-man big-league roster, so right-hander Ryan Cook heads back to Triple-A Tacoma.

Cook departs two days after the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton hit a walk-off, two-run home run against the 30-year-old reliever in New York’s 7-5 win over the Mariners. That was a game Seattle once led 5-0.

The surprising part was that Cook still had a minor league option available. Options allow clubs to move players on their 40-man roster to and from the minor leagues without exposing them to other teams, but players have three options (or three separate seasons of the organization being able to move the player to and from the minor leagues without exposing him to other clubs) after first being added to the 40-man roster.

Options are only used if a player goes to the minor leagues, and Cook, a former All-Star with the Oakland Athletics in 2012, has been in the big leagues for six seasons, but had only been optioned twice (he hadn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2015 with the Red Sox before this year because of multiple arm surgeries).

Cook has allowed seven earned runs in 11 relief appearances with the Mariners (91⁄3 innings) with 14 strikeouts and six walks allowed. He went five consecutive outings without allowing a run and just one hit before being roughed up in his past six appearances.

Vincent’s return means the Mariners’ bullpen is almost back to full strength. Right-hander Dan Altavilla (right UCL strain) remains on the disabled list, accompanied by right-hander David Phelps, who is out for the season because of season-ending Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL.

But they’re also without Jean Segura, who missed Thursday’s game because of a bizarre injury — an infection in his right forearm.

He’s not on the disabled list, but manager Scott Servais speculated that Segura could be out a few extra games.

Robinson Cano is both recovering from a fractured finger and counting down the days until his 80-game suspension ends (slated to be Aug. 14).

Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez continues to recover from a right teres major strain, but it’s unclear where he fits in the Mariners’ rotation even when he does return, especially with the way his replacement, left-hander Wade LeBlanc, has pitched. So the Mariners are in no rush to get him back on the field.

Then there’s right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma, their proclaimed “secret weapon” who seemed destined to begin a rehab assignment soon, Servais said recently. Iwakuma had been pitching in Arizona, per Servais’ most recent update last week.

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