M’s notebook: Lawrence recalled from AAA, De Jong sent down

SEATTLE — The need for an innings-eating reliever prompted the Seattle Mariners to make their latest roster move prior to Wednesday’s series finale against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field.

The Mariners recalled just-acquired Casey Lawrence from Triple-A Tacoma after clearing space by optioning right-hander Chase De Jong to the Rainiers. The move came one day after De Jong threw 98 pitches in six innings.

“Chase did a good job of hanging in there (Tuesday) night,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s just where we’re at in trying to manage the games going forward for the rest of the homestand. We thought that length piece would be valuable.”

The move leaves the Mariners without a designated starting pitcher for De Jong’s next turn through the rotation: Sunday against the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field.

Servais said Lawrence “could” fill that role.

“Right now, Sunday is to be determined,” Servais said. “Every day is to be determined. It could be him. It could be one of the other long men.”

De Jong was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in five games, including three starts.

The Mariners acquired Lawrence, a right-hander, in a May 11 waiver claim from Toronto, which designated him for assignment on May 8 after he went 0-3 in four games, including two starts, while allowing 14 runs in 13 1/3 innings.

Lawrence, 29, allowed one run in one inning May 13 for Tacoma against Round Rock (Rangers) in his first outing in 10 days.

“I don’t know a ton about him,” Servais admitted, “other than he’s in our uni and he’s available tonight.”

Toronto signed Lawrence as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He is 64-60 with a 3.80 ERA in 173 games, including 161 starts, over eight minor-league seasons.

Next step for Diaz

The next step for struggling closer Edwin Diaz is an extended outing in a lower-leverage situation.

“I’d like to get him out there and let him go a couple of innings,” Servais said. “As a pitcher, that’s when you have a chance to work on things. You can go out there for an inning and not get into your pitches or get a feel for what you’re doing.”

The Mariners pulled Diaz out of the closer’s role after he nearly squandered a three-run lead Monday in the ninth inning. Tony Zych replaced Diaz and got the final two outs in a 6-5 victory over Oakland.

“We do want a situation for Eddie to get out there to work on a few things,” Servais said, “and get him back in the right spot. As we saw last year, having an anchor at the back of the bullpen is huge.”

Diaz is 1-2 with seven saves and a 5.28 ERA in 16 appearances. He was 0-4 with a 2.79 ERA last season in 49 games and had 18 saves in 21 chances after becoming the closer in August.

Paxton’s progress

Injured lefty James Paxton had a brief message after throwing from flat ground in a pregame workout: “Two big thumbs up,” he said while reinforcing the point by raising the thumbs on both hands.

Paxton hasn’t pitched since being diagnosed with a strained forearm muscle after a May 2 start against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field. He was 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA through six starts when placed on the disabled list.

Plans call for Paxton to throw a bullpen workout later in the week. He will then make a rehab start in the minors. If all goes well, he could rejoin the rotation at some point on a eight-game trip that begins May 23 in Washington.

Other rotation updates:

— Right-hander Felix Hernandez was scheduled to resume playing catch in his recovery from bursitis in his shoulder, which was diagnosed after an April start in Detroit.

Hernandez played catch twice last week but backed off his throwing program when he experienced discomfort. Barring further setbacks, he could be ready to rejoin the rotation in early June.

Hernandez was 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in five starts when placed on the disabled list.

— Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma could begin playing catch this weekend in his recovery from shoulder inflammation, which was diagnosed after a May 3 start against the Angels.

Iwakuma is not expected to return prior to mid-June at the earliest.

Triple crowned

On Tuesday, center fielder Jarrod Dyson became the first player in the Mariners’ 6,395-game history to be hit by a pitch three times in the same game. He matched a major-league record, which occurred 25 previous times since 1913.

Dyson was hit by three different Oakland pitchers: Andrew Triggs in the fifth inning, Daniel Coulombe in the seventh, and Santiago Castilla in the ninth.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” Dyson said. “I don’t like getting hit. I’m too little to be getting hit. But I’m not going to back off the plate or anything like that. I’m going to stand my ground where I normally stand.”

Dyson has been hit eight times this season by pitches, which leads the majors. His former Kansas City teammate Alex Gordon ranks second with six.

Dyson was hit by pitches 17 times in his previous seven big-league seasons and had never before been hit more than four times in the same year.

Rare boomer

While reliever Marc Rzepczynski is a lefty specialist, he had faced 119 right-handed hitters without giving up a home run before yielding a three-run shot Tuesday to Oakland’s Mark Canha in the ninth inning.

The last right-handed hitter to go deep against Rzepczynski was ex-Mariners outfielder Justin Ruggiano on Sept. 4, 2015. Rzepczynski was pitching for San Diego, while Ruggiano was playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Right-handed batters were 23-for-92 (a .250 average) with 26 walks (for a .415 on-base percentage) against Rzepczynski between the homers by Ruggiano and Canha.

50 and counting

Kyle Seager hit his 50th career homer at Safeco Field in Tuesday’s loss to the Athletics.

Only five other players have done that: Raul Ibanez (78), Bret Boone (62), Edgar Martinez (54), Richie Sexson (53) and Ichiro Suzuki (53).

Nelson Cruz has 47.

Looking ahead

Three things to note heading into Thursday’s pitching matchup between right-hander Sam Gaviglio and Chicago right-hander Dylan Covey:

— Gaviglio, 26, is a rookie who is making his first big-league start and second big-league appearance. The Mariners acquired him in a Nov. 20, 2014 trade from St. Louis for infielder Ty Kelly.

— Covey, 25, is a rookie making his seventh major-league start. The White Sox acquired him last December from Oakland in the Rule 5 Draft.

— White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier battled back stiffness earlier this month and is batting just .173 this season in 28 games. But he was 10-for-28 (.357) last season in seven games against the Mariners with four homer and 11 RBI.

Minor details

Double-A Arkansas outfielder Chuck Taylor carried an 18-game hitting streak into Wednesday’s game against Northwest Arkansas (Royals).

Taylor, 23, is batting .366 (26-for-71) in the streak with a .444 on-base percentage. His season totals are up to .336 and .450 with a .486 slugging percentage in 29 games.

The Mariners acquired Taylor last December in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft from Arizona. He was the Diamondbacks’ fourth-round pick in 2012 and slashed .261/.354/.391 last season in 83 games at Hi-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile.

Short hops

Outfielder Ben Gamel turned 25 on Wednesday. Former Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen turned 41. … It was 26 years ago Wednesday, May 17, 1991, that the Mariners acquired third baseman Mike Blowers from the New York Yankees for a player to be named later (pitcher Jim Blueberg).

Looking back

It was nine years ago Thursday — May 18, 2008 — that Ichiro Suzuki became the Mariners’ all-time leader in stolen bases when he got No. 291 in a 3-2 victory over San Diego at Safeco Field.

Suzuki moved past Julio Cruz, who had 290 for the Mariners from 1977-83. Suzuki pushed his franchise-leading total to 438 prior to a 2010 trade that sent him to the New York Yankees. He now has 508 steals in his 17-year career.

Cruz remains second on the club’s all-time list. Harold Reynolds is third at 228.

On tap

The Mariners and White Sox open a four-game weekend series at 7:10 p.m. Thursday at Safeco Field when right-hander Sam Gaviglio (0-0 with a 4.50 ERA) opposes Chicago right-hander Dylan Covey (0-3, 7.98).

The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network, including mariners.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv).

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