UPDATED: Mariners prospect Cortes to pitch in Venezuela; Wilhelmsen to fall league

10:50 P.M. UPDATE

I spoke with Pedro Grifol, the Mariners’ minor league director, in the clubhouse after tonight’s game and got the skinny on why reliever Dan Cortes was replaced by Tom Wilhelmsen on the Peoria Javelinas’ Arizona Fall League roster.

Instead of the fall league, Cortez will pitch winter ball in Venezuela. The Mariners made that decision only a couple of days ago, Grifol said.

The Mariners believe having Cortes pitch in Venezuela may better prepare him — or at least let the organization gauge how ready he’ll be — for what they hope will be a key bullpen role on the big-league team next season. He has pitched well at both Class AA West Tennessee and AAA Tacoma since converting from starter to reliever, with a fastball from 97 to more than 100 mph.

“We want to get Cortes to Latin America in winter ball and get him in front of pressure situations and the fans down there,” Grifol said. “Maybe we can expedite his development down there.”


No explanation yet from the Mariners on this, but hard-throwing right-hander Dan Cortes has been pulled from the list of pitchers they’re sending to the Arizona Fall League and Tom Wilhelmsen has been added to the Peoria Javelinas roster.

We’ll try to get an answer after tonight’s game from Pedro Grifol, the Mariners’ minor league director and a part of the big-league coaching staff in the post-Don Wakamatsu phase of the season.

Besides Wilhelmsen, other pitchers from the Mariners playing for the Javelinas will be right-handers Maikel Cleto, Josh Fields and Josh Lueke, plus second baseman Dustin Ackley, third baseman/first baseman Matt Mangini and outfielder Nate Tenbrink.

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