Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
We all saw this coming. Nick Franklin, who tweeted yesterday that he was heading to Las Vegas, presumably to rejoin the Tacoma Rainiers on the road there, was optioned back to Tacoma on Thursday. Cole Gillespie was called up, earning a spot on the 40-man roster in the process.
Also sent down was Erasmo Ramirez, but not to Tacoma. Not to Double-A Jackson, but to Class-A High Desert. Ramirez (1-3, 6.75) started strong for the Mariners before hitting a rough patch over the past few games. Despite the rough outing in his last start, he managed to record eight strikeouts in six innings. But manager Lloyd McClendon was upset with his placement of pitches in certain situations.
Franklin, who joined the team last week on the road in Texas, failed to impress in seven games played. He will head back to Tacoma to get some regular play time.
Gillespie, last played in the majors for the Chicago Cubs in 2013. He has a career .225 average in 78 career major league games. But he has been a new man in Triple-A Tacoma so far this season, posting a triple slash of .362/.456/.741 with five homers and 14 RBI in 16 games.
I have argued for days now that Gillespie could be the right-handed bat the Mariners are searching for in this lineup and would position him right after Justin Smoak in the current lineup. No word on whether Gillespie will get the start in right tomorrow as the Mariners open a series with the Texas Rangers. But I would hope that McClendon won’t wait to see what he has with Gillespie. Get him in the lineup, get him comfortable and let him contribute.
As for who will take Ramirez’s place on the roster, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune offered this suggestion via Twitter:
With the day off today and another one on Monday, the Mariners can go with a four-man rotation for a good week or so. They expect to have Hisashi Iwakuma ready, barring any setbacks in time to make a start roughly 10 days from now.