Mariners acquire lefty reliever Zach Duke from Twins

Jul 30, 2018, 2:32 PM | Updated: 4:39 pm
The Mariners become lefty reliever Zach Duke's ninth MLB team. (AP)...
The Mariners become lefty reliever Zach Duke's ninth MLB team. (AP)

The Mariners are back to having two strong left-handers in their bullpen.

Seattle traded for left-handed relief pitcher Zach Duke on Monday afternoon, acquiring him from the Twins in a move that was first reported by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

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Duke, 35, is a 14-year veteran in the major leagues. The Mariners become his ninth team.

The Mariners are sending minor league pitcher Chase De Jong and minor league infielder Ryan Costello to Minnesota in the trade.

The Duke trade was just the first of the day for Seattle. The Mariners also picked up right-handed reliever Adam Warren from the Yankees. That makes it three trades to upgrade the bullpen since last Friday, when they acquired righty Sam Tuivailala from the Cardinals.

The addition of Duke will take some pressure off fellow southpaw James Pazos, who has shouldered much of the load against left-handed hitters since lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski was released earlier in the season. Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters Monday that differences in Duke and Pazos’ repertoires will allow Seattle more matchup possibilities against left-handed hitters.

“Duke’s got a pretty good track record getting the lefties out,” Servais said. “Last couple years he’s been pretty good against the righties, too. He’s got the different arm angles, little bit different look. He’s got experience so welcome addition.”

Servais added that Duke will serve as more of a “come in for a third, two-thirds of an inning matchup-type guy.”

This season, Duke is 3-4 with 12 holds, a 3.62 ERA, 1.58 WHIP and 39 strikeouts over 45 appearances (37 1/3 innings).

Duke is holding left-handed hitters to a .237 batting average and .562 OPS in 2018. Righties have a .309 average and .759 OPS against him.

De Jong, 24, is 5-5 with a 3.80 ERA in 21 starts with Double-A Arkansas this season. He made seven appearances for the Mariners in 2017.

Costello, 22, has a .266 average with 24 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs and 70 RBIs in 101 games with Single-A Clinton this year.

Duke is set to become a free agent after the season.

Roster move

In another move Monday, the Mariners activated pitcher James Paxton from the 10-day disabled list ahead of his scheduled start against Houston at 7:10 p.m. and placed third baseman Kyle Seager on the paternity list. In corresponding moves, infielder Zach Vincej was called up from Triple-A Tacoma and first baseman Daniel Vogelbach was optioned to the Rainiers.

Players may be on the paternity list for up to three days.

Paxton has been out of action since July 13 with lower back inflammation. He was originally set to make his return last Tuesday but the Mariners opted to let him rest his back through one more turn in the rotation.

Vincej (pronounced VINCE-ee), 27, will make his Mariners debut in his first appearance. He played nine games with the Cincinnati Reds last year, and is hitting .236 with 44 RBIs in 84 games with Tacoma in 2018. He has played second base, third base and shortstop with the Rainiers.

Vogelbach, 25, is hitting .212 with two home runs and seven RBIs over four stints with Seattle this season.

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