SHANNON DRAYER

Wade LeBlanc to bullpen as Mariners make rotation changes

Jul 20, 2016, 2:25 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm

Wade LeBlanc was 3-0 with one save during his 11 games with the Mariners. (AP)...

Wade LeBlanc was 3-0 with one save during his 11 games with the Mariners. (AP)

(AP)

The Mariners have a most unusual schedule coming up with three off-days in the next 10 and then just two more off-days in the 48 that follow. While the latter is a grind, the former presents a challenge for manager Scott Servais in scheduling the starters.

A little rest is a good thing; too much can be a problem. Servais has indicated that he could go to a four-man rotation for the short-term and that he would like to keep Felix Hernandez pitching on regular rest, but a final decision has yet to be made. For the upcoming series in Toronto, the Mariners will go with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma and Mike Montgomery. After that remains to be seen.

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“I don’t have to commit because we have all of these off-days,” Servais said on Wednesday morning. “We are going to try to use that to our advantage, especially where we are at on the calendar, knowing the trade deadline is out there, what that could lead to. I don’t want to speculate too much but we will let our guys know and then let you know.”

One move has been made with Wade LeBlanc going to the pen.

“We’re not going to need all six starters going forward,” Servais said. “Obviously Wade Miley threw the ball OK last night. It will probably be a situation where LeBlanc could give us some length in the short-term.”

Getting Taijuan Walker back will lead to another shuffle as well. Walker, who will travel with the team on the road trip, told me that he is scheduled to throw a bullpen Friday in Toronto. If all goes well, he should throw a sim game in Pittsburgh and could be sent for a rehab start shortly after that.

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