The Mariners optioned left-hander Lucas Luetge to Tacoma and called up Bobby LaFromboise, another lefty. Brandon Maurer, who was roughed up by the Astros on Tuesday, will stay in the rotation, according to manager Eric Wedge.
The fallout from Tuesday’s 16-9 rout by the Astros victimized reliever Lucas Luetge, who was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma so the Mariners could get a fresh arm. They called up another left-hander, Bobby LaFromboise, from the Rainiers to take Luetge’s spot.
But starter Brandon Maurer, who gave up six runs and didn’t make it out of the first inning, survived. Despite his 16.20 ERA after two starts, Maurer is remaining in the Mariners’ rotation. He will start Sunday against the Texas Rangers.
Manager Eric Wedge there was “no discussion” of removing Maurer, once he learned the rookie was OK after getting hit in his right thigh by a line drive on Tuesday. Wedge said he still believes in Maurer, and that he will ultimately be stronger because of his struggles.
“It’s going to end up being part of his DNA. He’s a guy who went out and took it in spring training, took a spot on the team. He has great stuff. He’s going to be a good major-league pitcher. He’ll just have to go through some things early on, like most of them do. And you register it, you learn from it, and you’re better for it.”
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Maurer, who was understandably downcast when he met the media Tuesday night, was more upbeat Wednesday.
“I kind of took last night to think about it, and let it go,” he said. “Just flush that one down, go out there and do it again next time.”
With what he hopes will be different results, of course.
“I actually felt pretty good last night,” Maurer said. “I left a few balls up. They hit a few good pitches in the there. I think I threw a few good pitches in there that found a hole. It seemed to be the case the whole day.”
Maurer met with pitching coach Carl Willis to discuss what went wrong, and how he can fix it.
“In reviewing the video, a lot of pitches were in the center of the plate,” Willis said. “I think we saw in spring training a little better command. I don’t think it’s anything mechanical as much as I think it’s his first couple major league starts, him being maybe a little more intense. He’s an intense young man, maybe a little more intense than normal.”
One solution, Willis said, might be to simplify things for Maurer.
“Maybe a little less information, a little less game-planning,” he said. “Just have him go out and pitch solely his ballgame, his strengths. That may help his confidence a little bit. That may eliminate some of the thinking.”
Welcome to the bigs
LaFromboise, meanwhile, was thrilled to begin his major-league career. He put up a 1.36 ERA last year in 66 1/3 innings between Class AA Jackson and Tacoma. In two appearances this year with the Rainiers, he hadn’t given up a run in 2 2/3 innings.
LaFromboise got a call in his Sacramento hotel room Tuesday night just after midnight from Tacoma manager Daren Brown, telling LaFromboise to come up to his room.
“When he told me, I was blown away,” LaFromboise said. “I was just hanging out with a couple of roommates and friends. It was a big shock to me.
“I went back down to my room and called my dad. I made one phone call; it was just to my dad. I couldn’t get through it. Teared up. And then I had to talk to my mom, and that was worse. Because it’s mom. It was just a great feeling to be able to make that phone call to them, and say, hey, I made it.”
LaFromboise had never set foot in Safeco Field until he arrived at the ballpark.
“Walking up those steps, stepping on that field, I was in awe,” he said. “For my first time to be on the team was a big shock to me, but I’m on cloud nine right now.”
“It was nothing, really, in regards to Lucas,” Wedge said. “It was just he had options, and he threw three innings last night, and we needed another arm. When you have a night like last night, it’s not just about the next day, but it could potentially even go longer than that.”
Jays claim Wells
Outfielder Casper Wells was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, ending his association with the Mariners. Wells had been designated for assignment by Seattle on March 31 when he lost his battle for the final outfield job to Jason Bay.
“I wish him the best of luck,” Wedge said. “He’s a good guy. Any time a guy gets an opportunity to go somewhere else, I wish him the very best. But we really like who we have here, and what our future holds, and we feel good about our ballclub. It’s just going to take a little time to settle in. It’s all part of things you have to go through early in the year.”