SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners notebook: The plan for the 9th plus a look at the rotation moving forward

Aug 2, 2016, 7:44 PM | Updated: Aug 3, 2016, 12:56 pm

Should the Mariners find themselves in a save situation Tuesday night, Edwin Diaz will most likely get the call. Manager Scott Servais acknowledged after Monday’s loss that it was time to take a step back with Steve Cishek, who has struggled of late.

“Steve’s done a nice job for us all year and he has had a few blown saves and they’re tough,” Servais in his pregame radio interview. “They’re tough on me, they’re tough on him and they are tough on the fans. I get it. That’s part of being a closer. The game is on the line. The the last couple of games have been rough for him. I just want to back off a little bit. He’s not throwing the ball great, he knows he’s not so let’s get a little breather in the meantime.”

While Diaz could get the call Tuesday night, Servais is not ready to name him the full-time closer. At just 22 years old and having been converted less than three months ago to a reliever, the Mariners will continue to handle Diaz carefully.

“He’s been fantastic for us, but he’s very young, very inexperienced. But the only way to get experience is to fire him out there, and see what happens,” Servais said.

Tom Wilhelmsen and Drew Storen have extensive closing experience and they could get the call from time to time as well.

“It’s not going to be one guy,” Servais said. “We will use all the guys, try to go with the best matchup and who’s the freshest guy and things like that.”

Of course, if Diaz has success in the role, this could become a very different story moving forward. He very quickly pitched his way into higher-leverage situations shortly after his arrival and showed no hiccups or growing pains. They say the ninth inning is different, however. We shall see if Diaz is aware of that.

Notes

• Servais confirmed that newly acquired lefty Ariel Miranda will likely start in Thursday’s series finale with Boston.

• It sounds like Mariners officials saw what they needed to see from Taijuan Walker in his rehab start with Triple-A Tacoma Monday night. Servais said that although there was some rust, his stuff was good and the velocity was there. Servais is now determining where Walker will fit into the rotation, but it is safe to say he will make a start on the home stand.

• Reliever Nick Vincent looked sharp in his simulated game and will soon be sent on a short rehab assignment.

• Baseball America released its list of Major League Best Tools, which ranks the top three in each league in various position and skills categories, and there is not a Mariner to be found. In the recent past, Felix Hernandez’s changeup has been ranked the best, Robinson Cano’s defense at second base has been second, Nelson Cruz has been second in power, Leonys Martin has had the second-best outfield arm, Hisashi Iwakuma has been second in control and Justin Smoak has been the third-best defensive first baseman.

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