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Walker, Almonte join Mariners; Ramirez demoted

By Brent Stecker

It was well-known that pitcher Taijuan Walker would be called up to make his MLB debut and start Friday for the Mariners. We didn’t know he would have company on his trip from Triple-A Tacoma.

The Mariners have promoted Walker and outfielder Abraham Almonte to the 25-man roster, and have sent starting pitcher Erasmo Ramirez back to Tacoma.

Walker, 21, will become the first of the Mariners’ “Big Three” of pitching prospects (which also includes Danny Hultzen and James Paxton) to play in a Major League game when he toes the rubber against the Astros in Houston tonight. He is a combined 9-10 with a 2.93 ERA (46 ER, 141.1 IP) and 160 strikeouts with Tacoma and Double-A Jackson in 2013.

Almonte, 24, will help fill a void created when Seattle traded slugger Michael Morse to the Baltimore Orioles earlier Friday. He will also be making his MLB debut Friday, as he is in the lineup playing right field and hitting in the No. 8 spot. In 2013, he has hit .300 with 23 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs, 68 RBIs and 26 stolen bases in 123 games with Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. He was acquired by Seattle from the Yankees for reliever Shawn Kelly on Feb. 13.

Ramirez, 23, has an impressive 5-1 record with the Mariners, but a weak 5.18 ERA in nine games (eight starts).

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