How the Mariners plan to use Roenis Elias, replace Marc Rzepczynski

Jun 1, 2018, 5:02 PM
Roenis Elias, who started for the Mariners in 2014 and 2015, will take a bullpen role. (AP)...
Roenis Elias, who started for the Mariners in 2014 and 2015, will take a bullpen role. (AP)

With the Mariners designating Marc Rzepczynski for assignment Friday, the bullpen will take a slightly different shape going forward.

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For starters, James Pazos, who has been the other left-handed reliever along with Rzepczynski this season, will move into a lefty specialist role on a more regular basis.

“He’s been very effective, on a pretty good run right now,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said Friday afternoon.

Pazos has a 1.33 ERA and 0.92 WHIP this season, and he’s holding lefty batters to a .226 average with 12 strikeouts in 31 at-bats.

As for Roenis Elias, another southpaw who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma to replace Rzepczynski on the roster, he will take on a relief role despite mostly starting during his career – most notably during 2014 and 2015 with the Mariners.

“He’ll work out of the pen, not just a left-on-left guy at all because he can get through righties just as well,” Servais said. “Gives our bullpen a little bit more flexibility with another guy that can do more than just face a left-hander here or there.”

Servais said the decision to DFA Rzepczynski was a “tough call,” and he hopes the Mariners are able to retain the 32-year-old veteran and let him work through his struggles in Triple-A.

“It’s been a struggle for him just getting results that he or we were looking for. It’s a ‘do-good’ league. You do good to stay,” Servais said. “… His thing is to get the left-handed hitters out and he’s been struggling to do that. I still think he’s healthy, he’s still got plenty of arm left.

“I do think Zep will get back into the league. If he doesn’t get claimed by another club, (we) certainly left the door open for him to go to Tacoma and pitch for us there. I would love for him to do that if he didn’t get an opportunity that he thought was better elsewhere and kinda get it going in the right direction again and get him back here – but that decision will be up to him.”

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