Seattle adds two relievers to the staff and returns to an eight-man bullpen

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Following a 4-6 road trip and the Monday off day,  the Mariners made series of roster moves, most notably sending first baseman Daniel Vogelbach back to Class AAA Tacoma after a brief call up where his confidence seemed to diminish with each game.

The moves:

  • Jean Machi, RHP, selected from AAA Tacoma.
  • Emilio Pagan, RHP, selected from AAA Tacoma.
  • Casey Fien, RHP, designated for assignment.
  • Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, optioned to AAA Tacoma.
  • Shawn O’Malley, IF, transferred to the 60-day DL (right shoulder tendinitis).

“We decided we want to go back to 13 pitchers,” manager Scott Servais said. “We have juggled the roster and pitching here quite a bit in the first month. Hopefully we can settle it down, but sometimes that’s what injuries cause you to do and you are trying to get guys to perform. That’s where we are at.”

Vogelbach struggled in his call-up, going 2-for-14 with three walks, four strikeouts and one RBI and looked shaky in the field at first base.

“A lot of young guys when they come to the big leagues, it doesn’t click right away all the time,” Servais said. “There are number of guys that have had very good careers that bounced up and down a bit before they got into a good spot. Vogey can hit. He has a track record of producing in the batter’s box. He’ll be back. He’s part of out future and I feel very strongly about that. But for where we are at right now, I thought this was the best move to make.”

On Monday, general manager Jerry Dipoto talked about not letting young players “drown” in struggles at the big league level. The move with Vogelbach means Danny Valencia will return to the full time first baseman with Taylor Motter also seeing playing time there.

“We’ll look at it,” Servais said. “Danny does have track record. I’ve been talking for a while that he’s proven he can hit in this league. We’ll get Motter in there as well. After an unbelievable start that Taylor was off to, he cooled off a little bit (chart below).”

Both Machi and Pagan had to be added to the 40-man roster.

Machi, 35, had pitched well for Tacoma, going 1-0 with four saves and a 0.00 ERA (0 ER, 8.0 IP) with four strikeouts and a walk in eight relief appearances with AAA Tacoma this season. He does have some big league experience, appearing in parts of four Major League seasons with San Francisco (2012-15) and Boston (2015), compiling a 12-2 record with a six saves and a 3.47 ERA.

“He’s been on a World Series team and he has good secondary pitches,” Servais said. “He’s been through the wars, hopefully he can bring some stability to our bullpen.”

Pagan, who turns 26 on May 7, has made six appearances with Tacoma, posting a 3.27 ERA with 18 strikeouts and seven walks in six relief appearances. He was selected by the Mariners in the 10th round of  the 2013 MLB first-year draft out of Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C. He made his professional debut in 2013. He split last season between the Class AA and Class AAA level. He dominated in Jackson, going 4-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 18 appearances. For the Rainiers, he posted a 1-2 record and 3.67 ERA in 23 appearances.

Pagan pitched for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, making two relief appearances, pitching scoreless innings against Venezuela and the United States.

“I found out last night,” Pagan said. “I told my wife and my parents and just tried to keep it under wraps for as long as I could. It’s definitely a surreal feeling and humbling to say the least.”

Fien simply didn’t throw strikes or pitched with any of the expected consistency needed to stay on the 25-man roster in either of his stings — giving up 10 runs in six innings pitched. It’s the second time he’s been designated for assignment by the Mariners this season.

O’Malley was dealing with the shoulder issues before undergoing an appendectomy this spring. Since he’s been the disabled list the entire time since spring training, it’s an easy conversion to the 60-day DL and it freed up a 40-man roster spot.