In need of a fifth starting pitcher for the first time this season, the Mariners (9-5) called up LHP Ariel Miranda from AAA Tacoma to start Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. game against the Astros (10-7) at Safeco Field. To make roster room, utility player Taylor Motter was sent down to the Rainiers.
Miranda, 29, made two starts in the minors this month, five innings at Modesto and four innings at Tacoma. He gave up a combined four earned runs, 12 hits and five walks.
In his first full season in the majors last year with Seattle, Miranda led the club with 29 starts and 160 innings pitched. He was 8-7 with a 5.12 ERA with 137 strikeouts, 63 walks and and 37 homers given up.
Motter, 28, hit .267 with a homer in seven games after being called up April 3. He also pitched an inning of relief April 9 at Kansas City, allowing one run.
The Mariners have more roster decisions to make shortly with the pending return to health of several players. The scheduled No. 5 starter from spring, RHP Erasmo Ramirez (strained oblique), is likely to come off the disabled list to start for the first time Sunday, meaning Miranda could be sent down shortly after his spot start.
LF Ben Gamel (strained oblique) has had five games of rehab in the minors and is likely to take Miranda’s roster spot in the next couple of days, according to manager Scott Servais. C Mike Zunino (strained oblique, what else) has begun a rehab stint in Modesto, and 1B Ryon Healy has begun running following an ankle sprain.
Once the regulars are back, the Mariners will have to make a decision on keeping LF Ichiro. With Gamel, Dee Gordon and Mitch Haniger as starters and Guillermo Heredia as the best defensive outfielder, the club has to decide whether keeping a fifth outfielder is a luxury they can afford.
After Tuesday, the Mariners play two more against the world champs before a 10-game road trip begins Friday in Texas and continues to Chicago and Cleveland to close out April.