SEATTLE -- Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen had been outstanding since taking over that role from Brandon League in June, but the big right-hander ran into some control issues the past two weeks.Wilhelmsen walked at least one batter in seven straight appearances -- including two in a ninth-inning tight-rope walk Thursday at Minnesota -- until he zipped through a cleaner finish in Monday's 4-1 win over the Red Sox. Manager Eric Wedge had Wilhelmsen throw in a non-save situation Saturday just to work on some things and then had him back in for saves the next two nights. "You look at his last three outings, you've seen him start to ramp back in the right direction," Wedge said. "In that role, you're not going to be perfect every time and you're going to have to battle through some tough outings. He's already done that, and as you can tell, he's still strong and working back in the right direction. I thought he was really good [Monday]." Wilhelmsen said he just got away from his command for a bit, but wasn't going to overanalyze it. "It's just baseball," he said. "Sometimes you throw balls. That's what I was doing. You have to trust your stuff, no matter what. Even if it gets hit, you've got to come back and throw it. You just have to get back on the horse and get after it." Did he succeed in that Monday when he racked up his 23rd save? "Sure, I didn't walk anyone," he said. "So that's what I'm working on. I've been throwing more fastballs, trying to find the strike zone a little more with that and then I can come with the curveball as well."
Mariners play it safe with Guti's latest setback
SEATTLE -- Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was removed in the fourth inning of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Red Sox after feeling tightness in his groin muscle, just after hitting a leadoff home run in the third at Safeco Field.Manager Eric Wedge said Gutierrez tweaked his leg on a diving catch in the first inning, then felt it tighten up as the game progressed. "What we don't want to have happen, obviously, is for him to pull it and then his season's over," Wedge said. "So we got him out of there." Wedge said Gutierrez's status would be day to day. With Michael Saunders also sidelined the past 11 games with a strained groin muscle, Casper Wells -- just recalled from Triple-A Tacoma -- moved into center field after Gutierrez was taken out. Gutierrez, 29, has played just 21 games this year after two lengthy stints on the disabled list. The 2010 Gold Glove outfielder missed the first two months of the season following a partial tear of his pectoral muscle during Spring Training, then sat out another two months after getting a concussion when he was hit in the head with a pickoff throw in his 13th game back. He's performed well in the short time he's been on the field, batting .278 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Gutierrez has hit .296 (8-for-27) in eight games since his return from the concussion and scorched a home run to center off Jon Lester in his second at-bat Tuesday. The athletic outfielder played just 92 games in 2011 after dealing with a digestive issue in the first half of the year and then straining his oblique muscle in the final month. Gutierrez has not made an error in 297 consecutive games dating back to Aug. 21, 2009, and has an on-going American League record of 838 straight errorless chances, including his diving catch of a short fly ball by Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning Tuesday that led to his injury.
Mariners add seven, including Carp, Wells
SEATTLE -- The Mariners added seven players to their Major League roster on Tuesday -- including first-time callups Carlos Triunfel and Luis Jimenez -- as they took advantage of expanded rosters for September.With the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers finishing their season on Monday, the Mariners brought first baseman Mike Carp, infielder Alex Liddi, outfielder Casper Wells and right-handed pitchers Shawn Kelley and Hector Noesi back to the club. All five spent time with the Mariners earlier this season. The Mariners already had brought up pitcher Erasmo Ramirez and outfielder Carlos Peguero on Saturday, so their active roster now stands at 34. Triunfel, a 22-year-old middle infielder, and Jimenez, a 30-year-old first baseman and designated hitter, will be making their first stints in the Major Leagues. Jimenez, who hit .310 with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs for Tacoma, had to be added to the 40-man roster. To make room, the Mariners designated Johermyn Chavez for assignment, which means they now have 10 days to trade, release or outright the young outfielder. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Jimenez has been with seven Minor League organizations since 1999 -- the A's, Orioles, Dodgers, Twins, Red Sox, Nationals and Mariners -- and also spent 2009 playing in Japan. He emerged this year as the Rainiers' Offensive Player of the Year and was a Pacific Coast League All-Star. "I've been waiting for 13 years," said Jimenez. "Getting a chance now to play with these guys is very cool. I'm so proud of myself because I never gave up." Jimenez's mother has been visiting him in Tacoma for the past month and immediately got on the phone to his father back in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, where Jimenez's wife and two children also live. "She started crying," Jimenez said, "and she told my dad, "Antonio, Luis got called up!" And all I could hear was 'Take it easy, breathe, breathe, drink some water.' They were pretty excited." Triunfel is eight years younger than Jimenez, but has been in the Mariners organization much longer. He made his pro debut at 17 in the Class A Midwest League and has been a well-regarded prospect ever since, though his climb was slowed by a broken leg that wiped out almost his entire 2009 season. "I'm very excited because I've waited for this moment for many years," the Dominican native said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "I'm very grateful to be here." Triunfel will become the youngest position player on the Mariners' roster, though he's two months older than Ramirez. He hit .260 with 10 home runs and 62 RBIs in 131 games in his first full season in Triple-A while playing shortstop and second base. Carp had been on a rehab assignment after straining a groin muscle on Aug. 14, so he was activated from the 15-day disabled list. He hit .379 (11-for-29) with a home run and five RBIs during his seven-game rehab stint. "I just want to stay healthy this last month," said Carp, who has had three stints on the DL. "I've been hitting it, swinging it, feeling really well at the dish. So I'm excited to get back. I didn't miss a beat hitting-wise. I feel great and just want to help out any way I can." Wells was sent down to Tacoma on Aug. 27 when the Mariners activated Franklin Gutierrez. He hit .273 (6-for-22) with a home run, a triple, five walks and seven runs scored in six games. He was inserted immediately into Tuesday's lineup in right field against Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, who he made his Major League debut against in 2010 with the Tigers. Kelley was also sent down in mid-August and didn't allow a run in 5 1/3 innings in five relief appearances, giving up just two hits with no walks and six strikeouts and recording two saves. But he was hit in the elbow by a line drive on Aug. 29 and didn't pitch again until throwing to one batter -- and getting a strikeout -- in Monday's finale in Fresno. "It was a screamer," Kelley said. "It came back faster than I threw it. Hit me right on the bone. But I threw to a hitter yesterday and everything was good." Liddi, who opened the season with the Mariners, hit .270 with 11 home runs and 30 RBIs in 76 games with Tacoma. Noesi also spent the second half of the year in Triple-A after struggling as a Mariners starter with a 2-11 record and a 5.77 ERA. He finished 2-6 with a 5.74 ERA in 11 starts for Tacoma. Manager Eric Wedge said Noesi and Ramirez would work out of the bullpen for now and he doesn't foresee going to a six-man rotation at any point in the final month. Getting playing time for all his newcomers will be a challenge. "We're here to win ballgames and we're going to put the best lineup for us to win," he said. "Along with that, we'll try to give guys any opportunity we can within those guidelines. But obviously we've got a lot of position players here and you can only do so much with it. We'll do the best we can."
Mariners trade catcher Quiroz to Red Sox
SEATTLE -- Veteran catcher Guillermo Quiroz, who spent the season with Seattle's Triple-A Tacoma squad, was traded Tuesday by the Mariners to the Red Sox for cash considerations.
Quiroz, 30, hit .278 with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs in 89 games for Tacoma this year. He played seven games with Seattle in 2009-10, then spent last year with the Padres' organization in Triple-A Tucson before re-signing with the Mariners this season.
The Venezuelan native has played 101 games in the Major Leagues over parts of seven seasons with the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rangers and Orioles, with a career .208 batting average, two home runs and 28 RBIs in 255 at-bats.
Quiroz signed with Seattle as a Minor League free agent on Dec. 9, 2011, and was named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team.
• Outfielder Michael Saunders wasn't in the lineup for the 10th time in the past 11 games on Tuesday as he continues working back from a strained right groin. Manager Eric Wedge said he was continuing to progress, but gave no timeline on his likely return.• Original Mariners pitcher Diego Segui will throw out the first pitch before Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. PT game with the Red Sox as part of the Mariners' ongoing 35th Anniversary celebration. • The Safeco Field roof was open again for Tuesday night's game, the 29th consecutive home game played under open skies. That's the longest stretch of games with the roof open since a 35-game run from June 5-Aug. 28, 2006.