BRENT STECKER

Notebook: More relief expected as Mariners clear 40-man roster spot

Aug 20, 2016, 5:52 PM
Tony Zych is back with the Mariners after three months out for an injury originally thought to be l...
Tony Zych is back with the Mariners after three months out for an injury originally thought to be less serious. (AP)
(AP)

The Mariners outrighted pitcher Joe Wieland to Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday after he cleared waivers, meaning he has been removed from the 40-man roster. While that’s not a major transaction in any sense, it does give the Mariners a little extra flexibility at a time when it could come in handy.

Seattle has two relief pitchers on the 60-day disabled list nearing the end of their rehab assignments in Tony Zych and Evan Scribner, both of whom will need to be added to the 40-man roster to join the Mariners. Additionally, MLB rosters expand on Sept. 1, but players must be on the 40-man to play in the majors.

It’s no secret the Mariners’ bullpen has received a lot of work throughout the year, and especially recently – for example, closer Edwin Diaz is unavailable Saturday and manager Scott Servais will likely try to avoid using him Sunday after he struggled with command in long innings on Wednesday and Friday.

Seattle will need as many reliable arms as they can get down the stretch, so the Wieland move could be the first step the Mariners take towards adding new names to the bullpen.

Notes

• The Mariners have yet to announce their starting pitchers for Monday and Tuesday against the Yankees. Servais said Saturday that Cody Martin could start Monday, but that’s only in the case that the Mariners don’t use him in a long-relief capacity over the weekend as he’s currently stationed in the bullpen. Tuesday seems like a logical date for Taijuan Walker to be recalled from Triple-A Tacoma. Walker has made two starts for the Rainiers since being optioned by Seattle, including a strong scoreless outing over 6 1/3 innings on Thursday.

• So why are there two open spots in the Mariners’ rotation in the Yankees series? Hisashi Iwakuma will be given an extra day of rest, so he is penciled in to pitch Wednesday against fellow Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Iwakuma, 35, leads the Mariners with 14 wins and has by and large been their most consistent starter this season, but he has been a little less effective in his last two starts, striking out just two batters in each of those appearances.

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