Pitcher Hultzen to rest 10 days

Staff writerJuly 10, 2013 

The Mariners have decided to shut down minor-league left-hander Danny Hultzen for 10 days.

Hultzen is in the midst of his second bout with left shoulder inflammation this season.

Monday was his first of 10 days without throwing.

“From what we’ve been told, this isn’t anything to be overly, overly alarmed about, but it’s something you certainly have to address,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said.

Hultzen made one start for the Rainiers on June 27 after coming off the seven-day disabled list. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft is 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five starts for Tacoma this season.

He had a minor hip injury in spring, but the shoulder issue is forcing the Mariners to alter routines with Hultzen.

The club will look at strengthening his shoulder, changing his throwing routine and even adjusting his mechanics. After the 10 days off, the Mariners will determine what small steps are next for him.

“You never want to overhaul anybody. I think that’s dangerous with pitchers,” Zduriencik said. “You do want to look at some of the programs that he’s doing and try to make some alterations with it. We’re prepared to do whatever it takes.”

Hultzen appeared to have a strong chance to join the Mariners’ staff particularly after his good start and the struggles at the back end of the Mariners’ rotation. Now, the club is trying to figure out what is causing his discomfort.

“I think this is a process where you do one thing, see where that leads you,” Zduriencik said. “Then take step 2, step 3. We’re hopeful that when he starts throwing, we’re going to see positive results. What I’ve heard is the last couple days he’s felt good.”

ACKLEY IN THE OUTFIELD

Dustin Ackley made his eighth start in center field Tuesday at Safeco Field. But in the coming days you could see Ackley play some left field.

“They haven’t really told me when, but I played there a few games with Tacoma,” he said.

On Saturday, Wedge started Ackley in center field and Michael Saunders in left field, despite Saunders being the better center fielder. But that could be reversed.

With Raul Ibañez only able to play left field defensively, it forces Wedge to be creative.

Wedge won’t use Ackley in right field because of the arm strength requirements and the tough angles that some batted balls present.

“But there will be times, where we will put him (in left field),” Wedge said.

A reason for playing the inexperienced Ackley in center field is that is where he’s able to get his best jump on fly balls.

Wedge is trying to make Ackley as comfortable as possible.

“As long as you are physically able to do it, from a speed and reaction standpoint, your best projection is from center,” Wedge said.

RAMIREZ SCRATCHED

Erasmo Ramirez was scratched from his Wednesday start for the Rainiers. Brian Sweeney will take his place, making Ramirez a likely candidate to join the Mariners for a start Thursday. Jeremy Bonderman being designated for assignment Monday opened a spot in the rotation.

ON TAP

Aaron Harang (4-7, 4.92 ERA) of the Mariners will face Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront (5-3, 4.11) at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.

todd.dybas@ thenewstribune.com

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