Mariners DFA Tommy La Stella, call up top SP prospect Bryce Miller

May 2, 2023, 3:53 PM | Updated: 4:43 pm

Seattle Mariners Tommy La Stella Scott Servais...

Tommy La Stella and Mariners manager Scott Servais talk before a March 30, 2023 game. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

As expected, the Seattle Mariners have promoted their top pitching prospect, Bryce Miller, from Double-A and scheduled him to start their series opener Tuesday night against the Oakland Athletics.

Drayer: How prospect Bryce Miller fits into Mariners’ rotation plans

There had been no question that move would be made Tuesday. What had been a question, however, was how the Mariners would get him onto their active roster. The answer to that is by designating veteran Tommy La Stella for assignment.

The 34-year-old La Stella has been part of a struggling combination at designated hitter for the Mariners early on this season. A late offseason addition, the one-time All-Star has gone just 4 for 21 (.190) with a .530 OPS in 12 games with Seattle, with all but one of his hits singles.

The Mariners’ DH position is just 10 for 94 on the year, ranking last in MLB in average (.106), on-base percentage (.192), slugging (.170) and OPS (.362). Seattle is also the only team in the big leagues without a home run from a DH yet in 2023.

Of La Stella’s 21 at-bats, 15 have come at DH.

The Mariners are reportedly paying La Stella the league minimum as he’s still receiving the final year of a three-year, $18.75 million deal from San Francisco after being cut by the Giants. Seattle now has seven days to either trade or attempt to clear La Stella through waivers, after which they can decide to release him or ask him to accept an assignment to the minor leagues.

Miller, the Mariners’ No. 2 prospect and the No. 88 overall prospect in all of baseball per MLB’s rankings, allowed 14 runs in 15 innings pitched in his first three games with Double-A Arkansas this season before throwing five innings of one-run ball on April 25. In 2022, he threw an organization-high 163 strikeouts in 133 2/3 innings pitched in 2022, employing a hard fastball that can touch 100 mph, two types of sliders and a changeup. He finished last season with a 3.16 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over stints at three different levels in the minors.

The 24-year-old Miller was a fourth-round pick by the Mariners in 2021 out of Texas A&M.

The Mariners are searching for a suitable replacement in their rotation after losing No. 2 starter Robbie Ray, the 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner, to a forearm injury that requires season-ending surgery. They have moved Chris Flexen back to a long relief role after he struggled starting in place of Ray, who suffered his injury on March 31 in the second game of the Mariners’ season.

The Seattle Mariners open a three-game series in Oakland against the A’s at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday night live on Seattle Sports. Radio coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with the pregame show. For details on how to stream radio coverage from Seattle Sports, click here.

In lineup news, Ty France is back at first base after not starting the previous two games due to illness, but star center fielder Julio Rodríguez has been scratched due to lingering lower back soreness that initially knocked him out of action during the previous series at Toronto. Rodríguez has not played since Saturday, with the Mariners hoping rest Sunday and the team’s day off Monday would be enough time to heal up.

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