ARLINGTON, Texas – For the second time in the last three days, the Mariners went down to Double-A to add a long reliever.
Zac Curtis was up and back Friday, and after a day with Rob Whalen in the bullpen, Max Povse arrived on Sunday morning. Povse, who was added to the 40-man roster as the Mariners DFA’d Dillon Overton, was a bit of a surprise as he missed three weeks with a hamstring strain and has only pitched in one game since returning from the disabled list. Shortly before the injury, the organization had decided that they would convert Povese from a starter to a reliever – specifically, a reliever in the mold of the Astros’ Chris Devenski as a pitcher able to give multiple quality innings.
“We were very impressed with what we saw in spring training,” manager Scott Servais said of the 6-foot-8 right-hander. “He’s back throwing again. His stuff has spiked up in the shorter outings. I don’t know if he will be the traditional long man; he certainly is today if we have an issue. Hopefully he can settle in here, and we can settle in with our staff and get some longer outings from our starter so we don’t have to run to that guy every day. We will see.”
With the role change, Povse was most likely ticketed for the big leagues in 2017 one way or another. The call came sooner than expected but Servais said he was up for breaking Povse in at the big league level, giving him multiple opportunities if the pitching situation allowed him to do so.
“He’s on the 40-man, he’s part of that (long reliever) mix. I hope he is on the 25-man for a long time, I really do,” he said.
With the Mariners fast-tracking two Double-A starters-turned-relievers, Edwin Diaz and Dan Altavilla, to the big leagues last year, it wasn’t too difficult for Povse see the benefits of the role change.
“It’s exciting,” said Povse, who noted that he was fairly sure he blacked out when Arkansas manager Daren Brown gave him the news he was headed to the bigs. “I think it’s what they see me as for right now as a chance to be successful in the big leagues. I’m going to do everything I can to make that come true for them. Try to do everything I can to help the team win. That’s the main goal right now.”
• The reports matched the line for Felix Hernandez in his final rehab outing Saturday night in Tacoma. “The numbers were good, he used all of his pitches,” Servais said. “The report I got, the first couple of innings his fastball was up then he got it down. Good changeup, good curveball. Got his pitches in and the results were really good.” The number I would assume the Mariners were most pleased to see? 87. Felix threw 87 pitches in six innings. His pitch count will jump to over 100 on Friday when he returns to the mound for Seattle. The Mariners would be thrilled to get six or more innings from him then.
• The Mariners have signed 26 of their 40 draft picks, including their first-round selection, Evan White. The team’s No. 2 pick, Sam Carlson, remains their only unsigned top ten pick, but with his high school season and playoffs just winding down, he is expected to sign soon.
• Pitching probables for the series against the Tigers:
Monday: Sam Gaviglio vs. Anibal Sanchez
Tuesday: Ariel Miranda vs. Jordan Zimmerman
Wednesday: James Paxton vs. Justin Verlander
Thursday: Yovani Gallardo vs. Daniel Norris