Mariners Minors Transaction Update: August 1-15

InsidethePark.com's Joseph A. Yencich provides another transactions register, covering everything in the Mariners minor leagues from August 1-15.

TACOMA

July 28
RHP Scott Atchison promoted from Tacoma


Missing the first three months of the season and getting only 15 innings in the past five weeks, it seems like Atchison is still in spring training. But his elbow seems to have recovered after the strained flexor bundle he suffered in spring training, and he's now capable of throwing his breaking ball with some consistency. It's only a few weeks until September call-ups now, and Atchison could be ready to see some time in the major leagues by then.

July 29
C Wiki Gonzalez recalled by Seattle


Throwing out a catching corps everyday that doesn't have any familiarity with the organization seemed like a bad idea, so Gonzalez got the call and stuck around for a couple of weeks after the deadline until Miguel Ojeda could get accustomed to the organization. Wiki has hit .267/.298/.378 in 45 at-bats with the Mariners this season, but he probably doesn't have much of a future with the organization, if any, and will probably have to sign on with another team in the offseason.

July 30
RHP Jesse Foppert acquired in trade with San Francisco for Randy Winn
C Miguel Ojeda acquired in trade with San Diego for Miguel Olivo


Foppert was held back for two weeks with a stiff neck, but his debut was so eagerly anticipated that even Mariners broadcaster Dave Neihaus made it into the booth for an inning to watch the game. The 25-year-old was scheduled for an inning of work or 25 pitches, and he ended up getting through the first with 16 pitches, after an infield pop-up, a hit, a groundout and a flyout. If his neck doesn't give him any trouble, he'll continue making starts with the Rainiers for the time being.

Miguel Olivo got a some attention from various M's fans for hitting three home runs in his first 11 games in a new uniform, but Ojeda hasn't done too badly with his change of scenery either, hitting three home runs in seven games with his new team. The thing is, the M's were committed to splitting the duties behind the plate between Wiki and Yorvit Torrealba, also acquired in the Winn trade, so Ojeda was doing his hitting for the Rainiers, up until recently.

July 31
LHP George Sherrill recalled to Seattle
OF Jamal Strong recalled to Seattle


With Villone moving down to Miami, Sherrill becomes the team's primary left-hander out of the bullpen and has a chance to give the M's the kind of setup man they've lacked since Arthur Rhodes, circa 2001. While in Tacoma, Sherrill had a 2.28 ERA in 22 appearances and had more than half his outs come via the K. He should've been with the M's to start the season, but better late than never.

Back. Forth. Back. Forth. It seems like Strong has spent more time shuttling between the Rainiers and the Mariners roster than he has actually getting into games lately, but with the recent injury to Chris Snelling, there's a possibility that Strong might finally get his audition with the big club. Despite playing 14 games with the M's over the past three years, Strong has only worked two at-bats out of the deal. That's a shame considering he's hit .293/.371/.393 in 382 at-bats with the Rainiers this year and his previous years with them have been much the same if not better. Thing is that the Mariners outfield always seems to be in need of more power, and despite his name, Strong cannot provide that.

August 1
RHP Emiliano Fruto promoted from San Antonio
RHP Jorge Campillo recalled to Seattle


Though his Triple-A debut was unimpressive (four runs in a third of an inning) and he went on the DL with a sore arm shortly after, Fruto did everything to earn the promotion. In 66.2 innings for the Missions, Fruto had a 2.57 ERA, struck out almost a batter per inning, and notched 13th saves, taking over as the closer once Sean Green was promoted. The M's will have to seriously consider adding Fruto to the 40-man roster in the offseason.

The second cup of coffee in the big leagues for Campillo lasted just as long as the last one: just one game, just one inning. This time it wasn't for lack of lack of trying on the part of either Campillo or the M's; the sore right elbow that had been plaguing him for the past few weeks just gave out. Now Campillo will have to endure Tommy John surgery and will have to miss at least a year, a process Mariner farmhands such as Rafael Soriano and Aaron Looper are already familiar with.

August 2
RHP Jeff Harris selected by Seattle
RHP Masao Kida selected by Seattle
RHP Joe Woerman promoted from Tacoma


Pitching everywhere from Quebec to mainland China, Harris finally his first call to the majors a little less than a month after his 31st birthday, proof that there is still hope for all those players still languishing in the independent leagues. Harris has proven to be a versatile arm, making three appearances with Seattle so far, one of them a start, and pitching 14.1 innings. The only concern is that he's given up three home runs in that span, but that seems to be a deviation from the norm for him.

Given his history of ineffectiveness in both the minors and the majors, it didn't seem like to the brightest idea to throw Kida into the closing role in Tacoma. Despite his being named to the Triple-A all-star game, it still seems as if he's there because the Rainiers lacked better options. He's notched 19 saves in 45 appearances, but he also has five losses to his name and his ERA has been hovering between 3.50 and 4.00 for most of the season.

Rather than sign another guy out of the independent leagues for the short-term, the Mariners called up Woerman for his second brief stint with the Rainiers this season. This time was better than last, as he walked just one batter in an inning of work. The last time he was at Cheney, he gave up four runs in two frames of work. But now, the Rainiers seem to have straightened out their pitching situation and the 22-year-old has taken I-5 back north to Everett, where he seems to have slipped into the starting rotation.

August 3
RHP Clint Nageotte recalled to Seattle


As far as pitching prospects go, the Mariners have had a bizarre tendency this season to call a player up, pitch him in that day's game, then send him back to Tacoma the very next day. Nageotte was the latest player to experience this phenomenon, pitching an inning and a third against Detroit and giving up a run before rejoining the Rainiers. He's been doing well in Tacoma, posting a 2.52 ERA and striking out about 10-and-a-half per nine innings, so like the others, he should be back by September if not sooner.

August 4
RHP Felix Hernandez selected by Seattle
RHP Clint Nageotte optioned to Tacoma


Finally, a reason to watch the Mariners play. Well, at least every five days or so. Hernandez has done nothing to disappoint thus far, and became the first teenager to win a major league game since 1984 when he five-hit the Twins through eight innings on August 9. He's been inducing more groundballs than ever and striking out the occasional batter along the way, so it's been quite difficult for opposing teams to make any contact against him. Get used to it, because if we're lucky we'll be seeing it for a long time.

August 5
RHP Masao Kida optioned to Tacoma
OF Jamal Strong optioned to Tacoma
OF Chris Snelling recalled to Seattle
RHP Emiliano Fruto placed on the disabled list (sore arm)


This trip to the big leagues for Snelling ended in roughly the same way as the last one did, though the injury was not nearly as severe. Snelling appears to have re-injured his ACL, the same one he tore rounding third back in 2003. He's due to have surgery to determine the full extent of the injury, but the most likely scenario has him missing the rest of the season, which is a shame, as he was hitting .276/.382/.448 when he went down and seemed to be adjusting quite well.

August 8
RHP Rich Dorman called up from Peoria


A strained ligament in his pitching hand had him out of Tacoma since the end of May, but soon after he stuck out nine in a four-inning rehab stint in Peoria, he was called back into action. Unfortunately, he forgot to bring his control with him and in his most recent start, a relief stint of four and one-third innings following Foppert, he gave up a run on three hits, a wild pitc, and five walks against just two strikeouts. His strikeouts-to-walks ratios haven't ever been much to rave about, but that's a bit worse than usual for him.

August 14
RHP Jeff Harris optioned to Tacoma


August 15
OF Jamal Strong recalled to Seattle
RF T.J. Bohn called up from San Antonio
RHP Rafael Soriano called up from Everett
C Miguel Ojeda recalled to Seattle
C Wiki Gonzalez optioned to Tacoma


Say what you will about his being drafted in the 30th round or how he's 25 and only now reaching Triple-A, but those watching him play have nothing but praise for Bohn. Scouts believe that Bohn had the best throwing arm in the whole Texas League, was the best defensive outfielder overall, and might've even retained that title had he been playing in center instead of right field (and he might get the chance; that's where he started in his first game in Tacoma.) He's no slouch at the plate either, as he hit .308/.365/.468 with 27 stolen bases and was tied for the league lead in doubles with 30.

First it was his elbow, and after that, his shoulder, but it seems like Soriano's doing fine now and there were no complaints of tightness or other discomfort after his recent stint in Everett, a two-inning performance where he gave up a couple runs on three hits and struck out one. He'll still need some time in Tacoma to shake a season's worth of rust off, not to mention regaining his famous velocity, but he could still see some time in Seattle come September.


SAN ANTONIO

July 31
RHP Yorman Bazardo acquired in trade with Florida for Ron Villone
RHP Mike Flannery acquired in trade with Florida for Ron Villone
RHP Nataneal Mateo acquired in trade with San Diego for Miguel Olivo
RHP R.D. Spiehs released
LHP Jared Thomas placed on the disabled list


You can't find much to complain about with Bazardo. He throws in the mid-to-high 90s, he has an aggressive, strike-throwing approach on the mound, he's young, and his change-up and breaking ball are showing signs of improvement. The only knock on him so far is that with all the stuff he possesses, he's only struck out a combined 81 in 113 innings this season. Having been much younger than his competition at every level, that's not too much of a concern, and he could see those numbers jump as he adjusts to the big leagues.

Flannery is a bit of a late-bloomer, in minor league terms. Having spent seven years in the Marlins' system with nothing more to show than a 4.22 ERA through 646.2 innings, the 25-year-old seems to have finally gotten his mid-90s fastball under control this season, giving up fewer hits and walks while striking out more batters than ever. The Marlins' attempt to test him by moving him up to Triple-A earlier in the season didn't work out so well, but he should be able to make it there and stick to start next season.

Like a growing number of minor leaguers, including former Missions closer Ricky Guttormson, Mateo decided to try his arm out in the Japanese leagues after it seemed like he wasn't going anywhere in the U.S. Mateo pitched for three years in Japan after being released by the Phillies, and was signed by the Padres late in the 2003 season. He's struggled a little bit early on in his tenure with the Missions, giving up five runs in six innings,

Though there wasn't room for him anymore in San Antonio with the other relievers coming in from trades, there were some people out there who were paying attention to Spiehs' 2.81 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched for the Missions. On August 8th, Spiehs signed on with the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, the organization that originally drafted him back in 2001. Through four innings with Fresno, he's allowed two hits and two walks while striking out four.

Mostly a reliever through his minor league career, it seems like Thomas' arm wasn't quite ready for a move into the rotation in San Antonio, and he's now on the bench with a sore pitching elbow. Thomas made five appearances with the Missions, three of them starts, but ended up allowing 15 hits and nine walks against thirteen strikeouts in 12 innings of work. The longball bit him a couple of times as well, as two of those hits left the park.

August 3
LHP Cesar Jimenez reinstated from the disabled list


Since Jimenez' injury was nothing more than a sore bicep muscle, he was able to come off the DL just a week and a half after he landed on it. He returned to his first and, thus far, only start of the season. The experiment didn't go too well, and Jimenez ended up allowing three runs to score on five hits through three innings of work. Since it was just a spot start to tide the Missions over until Bazardo was ready to throw again, Jimenez was moved back into the bullpen following the game and has been there ever since.

August 15
OF Michael Nesbit called up from Inland Empire


The Missions outfield is pretty much set with Jon Nelson, Gary Harris, and Jaime Bubela on the roster, along with the possibility of Adam Jones showing up in center, but as far as spare outfielders go, they can't do much better than Nesbit. The 23-year-old hit .284/.350/.404 in 218 at-bats with the Sixers this season, while spending time at each position in the outfield. Staying healthy with him has been a concern, but it's not as if they'll be relying on him everyday.


INLAND EMPIRE

August 2
C Rob Johnson promoted from Wisconsin
1B/C Matt Hagen released


Though it took him until the beginning of August to get out of town, Johnson left Wisconsin with his share of accolades. The 22-year-old had a .272/.319/.430 average in 305 at-bats with the T-Rats, hitting mostly in the heart of the lineup, got an appearance in the Midwest League all-star game and was recently named the top defensive catcher in the league by Baseball America. California has proven to be a bit of a challenge so far, but he's definitely up to the task, and the Sixers are just happy to get some production out of the position.

The Mariners had tried a number of things to find a place for Hagen over the years, moving him from third to first and even trying him behind the plate for a game here and there, but nothing seemed to work. The 24-year-old Liberty University grad saw his numbers steadily decline from one level to the next. With a stream of new, younger prospects coming into San Bernadino, and Hagen stuck as a holdover from last year's squad, he lost playing time and didn't prove much when he did get on the field, mustering an OPS of just .506 in 108 at-bats.

August 15
OF Trevor Heid called up from Everett


Heid had to take a repeat course in the Northwest League to start this season, but he finally put those plus tools to use and ended up hitting .299/.384/.577 in 97 at-bats, enough to get the 23-year-old strong consideration as the team's most valuable player. This gig in Inland Empire is just an audition for the job he's likely to have there next spring. Just hope that the AquaSox outfield can survive without him in the meantime.


WISCONSIN

August 2
C Jeff Clement promoted from Everett
RHP Jason Snyder reinstated from the disabled list
RHP Randy Frye placed on the disabled list (back)


Getting 50 mph batting practice fastballs from your father just isn't the same as facing live pitching, and as such, Clement's offense hasn't been where it should be at .211/.362/.289. Still, the walks and the raw power show the potential, and he's playing in the Midwest League already. On top of that, Roger Hansen, the Mariners minor league catching coordinator, said there's no reason that Clement couldn't be catching in the majors in two-to-three years, and for all those M's fans out there waiting for some left-handed pop, that's a great sign.

Coming back from a sore shoulder, Snyder was rushed a little bit by the Rattlers' need for another pitcher right away. He's pitched solely in relief since his return, and it seems as if they were right to take it easy on his arm, as he's given up five runs in six innings thus far. Part of that was due to some poor bullpen work behind him, but he isn't pitching up to his normal levels yet in spite of what the seven strikeouts might lead you to believe. He might just stick in the ‘pen for the rest of the season, then move back into the rotation to start next year.

A sore back for Frye was enough of a concern to land him on the DL and force the T-Rats to bring in another pitcher, but it wasn't bad enough to keep him from pitching in his home state a week later. The 21-year-old faced off against the West Michigan Whitecaps on Sunday with a crowd of family and friends in the stands, and allowed two runs to score on five hits and four walks in three and two-thirds innings. One can only hope he has ready to come off.

August 9
RHP Randy Frye reinstated from the disabled list
RHP Ivan Blanco placed on the disabled list


A move had to be made when Frye came off the DL and so Blanco took his place on the bench. There's been no word yet from the Timber Rattlers staff as to what's bothering him, but he also spent an extended period of time out with an injury towards the end of last season. He has a great arm, but like so many other pitching prospects, his ability to stay healthy will be the determining factor as to whether or not he ever makes it to the majors.


EVERETT

August 9
RHP Joe Woerman sent from Tacoma

August 13
RHP Rafael Soriano on rehab assignment


August 15th LHP Harold Williams called up from Peoria

It's hard to be an ace on any staff when you're playing in 100 degree weather and the ball's in just as big of hurry to get out of the park as your teammates are, but Williams somehow managed to pull it off. A 38th-round pick out of a junior college in California last season, the 20-year-old seemed to come out of nowhere to take his place among the league's leaders, with a 2.30 ERA in 47 innings, a .218 opposing batting average and 44 strikeouts to 16 walks in addition to that. Putting up such numbers is as rare as standing water in that desert.


PEORIA

August 8
LHP Shawn Nottingham begins rehab assignment
IF Corby Heckman begins rehab assignment


Another victim of the dreaded "flexor bundle," Nottingham missed almost three months before finally turning up in the desert on rehab assignment. He's only gotten two appearances in so far, both of which were one-inning stints, but he's struck out four total while giving up just one hit. Hopefully he'll be back in San Bernardino soon, though he'll probably be in the ‘pen to start out with. This has been mostly a lost year in terms of his development.

Heckman only got a couple of games in with the Aquasox before going down with an injury and disappearing for well over a month. Now the former collegiate infielder has reappeared with the Mariners' Arizona League squad, and is hitting .308/.308/.385 in his first three games since coming back. He'll probably remain with the team for the rest of the season, barring any unusual circumstances, as the Aquasox are more than equipped to deal with any holes in their infield.

Seattle Clubhouse Top Stories