Mariners' pitching rotation to change next week
Manager Eric Wedge said the call-ups of Erasmo Ramirez and Hector Noesi will mean fewer starts for the Mariners' current starters, except Felix Hernandez.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Mariners plan to alter their starting rotation beginning next week in order to get two additional starts apiece for recent Class AAA call-ups Erasmo Ramirez and Hector Noesi.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge confirmed the move on Friday, saying that Felix Hernandez will remain on schedule but the rest of the rotation could be slightly affected. Hernandez is among the front-runners for an American League Cy Young Award, which would be the second of his career.
Beyond him, Hisashi Iwakuma has arguably been the team's second-best starter since the All-Star break. But Wedge seemed to indicate that Iwakuma could see a start or two pushed back a bit.
"It's going to change a little bit," Wedge said. "We want to make sure that we accomplish what we want to accomplish here, give ourselves the best chance to win. Iwakuma's going to continue to start, but there's going to be a point in time where everybody gets maybe a little bit more time."
Wedge said he is not planning to go to a six-man rotation because the starts for Ramirez and Noesi could be "too sporadic" for that.
Saunders, Gutierrez back
Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez have not had many opportunities to play together in the outfield this season, but both were in the lineup Friday after nursing recent groin issues.
Wedge said that, regardless of what Saunders and Gutierrez do the rest of the season, he already has a pretty firm grasp on what he's got with both players.
"I feel like I do," he said. "I feel like I have a good grasp on that with those two guys. I can't say that about everybody, but you asked me specifically about those two. I feel like I've got a good idea of where they're at and where they could eventually be."
• Luis Jimenez didn't learn about his first major-league start Friday night in the traditional way. Jimenez actually found out he was starting as the night's designated hitter when he checked Twitter and saw somebody had posted the lineup with him in it. In the fourth inning, Jimenez got his first major-league hit, a two-out single to center.