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News, notes, and updates from an eventful Thursday

By Shannon Drayer

A ton of news, notes and moves to talk about today, so let’s get right to it.

As you know by now, the Mariners have acquired Aaron Harang from the Colorado Rockies. Harang will arrive in Seattle Friday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen right away. He had a full spring training with the Dodgers but has yet to throw in a game, so Eric Wedge and Carl Willis want to get a good gauge of his readiness before throwing him into the rotation.

According to Jack Zduriencik, Harang to the rotation is not a given right out of the gates.

“You have to get a feel for where he is physically,” Zduriencik said. “We have starters, so the fact that he is going to bump somebody is a little premature right now, but he is a starting pitcher and if he is in good shape, his pitch count is where we think it needs to be and his bullpen is successful, then we will address it after that.”

The Mariners want to see Aaron Harang throw a bullpen session before giving him a spot in the rotation. (AP)

Zduriencik pointed out that with the addition of Harang the Mariners now had six starters. He indicated that whoever was bumped out of the rotation would go to the pen in a true long-relief role, something that was clearly needed.

With the injury to Erasmo Ramirez, not wanting to rush the Big 3 and Jeremy Bonderman not being quite ready coming back from surgery and a long layoff, the Mariners found themselves short of ready arms at the end of spring training. I believe that the plan all along was to have one of Ramirez or Beavan at Triple-A as the ready guy if needed. Ramirez, however, ran into a problem with his right triceps in the last week of spring training and has yet to join the Rainiers. He currently is on a throwing program in Arizona.

A number of you have the opinion that the Mariners should not have let Jon Garland go. It’s a move I did not disagree with at the time. A number of things came into play here with perhaps the biggest being that the team did not want to give up a 40-man spot for a pitcher coming off injury and a year-and-a-half layoff. Yes, he pitched well in spring training but they never got to see him throw 95 pitches, then throw 95 pitches five days later, then throw 95 pitches five days after that.

Perhaps if he wasn’t coming off of injury it would have been a different story, but in this situation they didn’t want to take the risk.

Also keep in mind that when Garland forced them to make the decision Ramirez was thought to be healthy. If Garland wouldn’t go to Triple-A and build up in a way that the Mariners were comfortable with there was a good chance that Bonderman would, and of course eventually did.

The last thing that I would note is Garland never seemed particularly eager to stay. After multiple outings he stated that if the Mariners didn’t want him someone else would. He had talked extensively with the Rockies in the offseason and perhaps getting back to Colorado was his eventual goal.

Regardless, shortly after Garland was gone the Mariners found themselves short-handed. Harang was one of the pitchers that the Mariners were looking at in the offseason but wasn’t made available until the end of spring training. The Rockies obviously had no plans to keep Harang after their trade with the Dodgers as they immediately DFA’d him with the intent to trade him. The Rockies are also sending a significant amount of cash to cover part of his 2013 salary.

The other piece of news I think could be considered good: Michael Saunders is headed to the 15-day disabled list with the sprained shoulder, but he was told there was no structural damage and once the inflammation cleared up he could start to work out. He most likely is looking at missing 2-3 weeks.

To take his place, Endy Chavez was called up. To make room for Chavez on the 40-man roster, D.J. Mitchell was DFA’d.

A few more notes …

• Michael Morse left tonight’s game after being hit on the hand. X-rays showed that he suffered a non-displaced fracture of the right pinky and he is expected to miss 3-7 days. After the game he said that he hoped to be back Sunday and that he was prepared to play with some pain.

• Franklin Gutierrez hit his third leadoff home run of the season tonight. With Saunders out, Gutierrez will most likely hit leadoff against both lefties and righties, according to Wedge. No word yet on who will lead off on his days off. Chavez led off 20 games last year for the Orioles and could be an option.

• Dustin Ackley was not in the lineup tonight despite the fact that the Mariners were facing a right hander.

“I feel it’s what he needs, quite frankly,” Wedge said of the night off. “Obviously he’s one of the guys we have to get going. We are giving him a day, giving him a chance for a good work day and go from there.”

• Kyle Seager broke an 0-for-18 slump with a line drive base hit in the seventh inning of tonight’s game.

• Stefen Romero is back in action suffering an oblique injury in spring training. He started at third for High Desert tonight and is expected to be in Tacoma soon.

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