The Seattle Mariners announced a few expected moves on Monday.
They activated right-hander Juan Nicasio from the 10-day disabled list. He didn’t even need a rehab assignment in the minor leagues because his swollen knee has healed so well. He threw against live batting practice on Saturday.
Catcher Chris Herrmann, who had been recovering from a strained oblique, was also activated. He went 2-for-12 (.167) in his rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma, which began on Thursday.
To create space on the active 25-man roster ahead of their three-game series in New York against the Yankees, the Mariners optioned right-hander Rob Whalen and catcher David Freitas back to Triple-A Tacoma.
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Whalen might have saved the Mariners against the Boston Red Sox in their come-from-behind, 7-6, win on Friday when he pitched four scoreless innings of relief. That allowed the Mariners to rally after allowing six runs in the third inning.
But Whalen had worked out of the Rainiers’ starting rotation all season. He was long-relief insurance against a potent Red Sox lineup.
Freitas was in his second stint up with the Mariners, but he’s basically been in the clubhouse all season. They recalled him the second day of the season because Mike Zunino went to the disabled list.
Then – when they selected Herrmann’s contract from Triple-A Tacoma on May 27 – Herrmann went to the disabled list a day later. So back came Freitas.
Herrmann gives the Mariners more late-inning options. He can also play first base and outfield and he’s a left-handed bat.
Freitas batted .286 his first 11 games with the Mariners, but in eight games since April 22 he’s hit .111. Herrmann went 1-for-4 in his one game with the Mariners.
But back to Nicasio.
Mariners manager Scott Servais attributed Nicasio’s struggles against the Houston Astros his last appearance to the right knee swelling, which he said caused Nicasio to not drive his fastball as well.
Nicasio was tied for the American League lead in holds before he went to the DL and ranked fourth among major league relievers with an 18.50 strikeout-to-walk ratio (37 strikeouts, two walks).
How dominant was he before that Astros game? Nicasio struck out 16 batters of the 29 batters he faced, allowed three hits and no walks in nine innings over eight appearances before the wheels feel off and he allowed four runs without retiring a batter against Houston on June 6.
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