Pazos and infielder Gordon Beckham were optioned back to Tacoma on Sunday morning.
With the need for fresh bullpen arms on Sunday, the Mariners optioned left-handed reliever James Pazos to Class AAA Tacoma as part of the series of roster moves.
While he was one of the few pitchers with minor-league options available, the move was also done in an effort to correct some mechanical issues that Pazos has been dealing with since before the All-Star break. The big lefty has seen his fastball velocity drop from 95-96 mph to 91-92 mph while his command has eroded.
“Over the last six weeks he hasn’t been as consistent with his fastball,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “That’s his trick. That’s what he’s got. He’s got a riding fastball that really plays well up in the zone, and the consistency of getting it there and executing it and being able to go multiple innings really hasn’t been there for him.”
Pazos’ numbers look decent — 3-1 record, 2.68 ERA in 49 appearances. But in his recent outings, he’s been consistently behind early in counts and fighting to put hitters away.
“On paper, Paz doesn’t walk a lot of guys, but when you watch it, it’s been different the past six to seven weeks,” Servais said. “I feel very confident this will be a 10-day reset and get him back. We really backed off of his workload thinking that might have been the issue around the All-Star break and we thought that would help, but it really hasn’t.”
Pazos will report to Tacoma with a “very detailed plan” and schedule. He’ll throw several bullpen sessions while having structured outings in games. They want to remove the competitive aspect from it and allow him to focus on figuring out the mechanical issues that are sapping his velocity while not being concerned about results.
“It’s about getting him right mechanically,” Servais said. “It’s never easy sending a guy out. Where he fits in our bullpen right now, we really need him. And I stressed that to him multiple times last night talking to him. We need him to be a real big part of our bullpen and right now he’s just not. So take a step back, take the next 10 days to regroup and go from there.”
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With the Mariners scheduled to face right-handed starting pitchers in five of their next games, starting on Monday vs. Houston’s Gerrit Cole, sources said they’ll call up left-handed hitting outfielder Ben Gamel to join the roster. Guillermo Heredia will be optioned back to Tacoma.
Back-up catcher Chris Herrmann suffered a severely bruised knee on Sunday on a foul ball in the first inning. He was removed from the game and underwent a x-ray. The Mariners have to place him on the 10-day disabled list.