Pitcher James Paxton #65 of the Seattle Mariners throws in a simulated game prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on July 8, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Paxton is currently listed on the 60-day DL. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
SAFECO FIELD - The Seattle Mariners recalled catcher Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday to fill the roster spot vacated by the departure of John Buck Monday night.
Buck was designated for assignment by the Mariners following Monday's 2-0 win over the Minnesota Twins. Here is last night's story about that move.
Sucre is a better defensive option than Buck behind the plate. With Mike Zunino having caught 70 of the team's first 89 games, there is a concern from the team that he may wear down if continuing to catch games at that rate. Sucre can give Zunino a few more games off his feet with the team not as concerned about the drop in defensive performance behind the plate.
"He's proven he's a solid backup catcher who receives the ball well and blocks well," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He pretty much just shuts down the running game."
Sucre has thrown out 21 of 41 runners attempting to steal bases while in Tacoma this season.
"I've been working really hard with my defense down there, especially with my footwork stuff and throwing the ball to second," Sucre said. "I feel much better this year."
The Mariners elevated John Hicks to Tacoma from Double-A Jackson and promoted Steve Baron from High-A High Desert to Jackson.
James Paxton throws simulated game:
Mariners left-handed starter James Paxton threw his first simulated game Tuesday since suffering a setback in his rehab from a strained left latissimus dorsi muscle.
Paxton threw 33 pitches over two innings of work in the session.
"He threw all four pitches. They were all good," pitching coach Rick Waits said. "Good timing. He's been working a lot on his timing and his timing was excellent today."
Paxton is scheduled to throw a second simulated game on Saturday. If all goes well, he would either head out on a rehab assignment or throw one more simulated game before being sent out. Paxton said if it's just one more simulated game, it's likely he'd throw one rehab start for Single-A Everett before throwing a second start for Tacoma.
Paxton was encouraged by his performance Tuesday.
"It went really well," Paxton said. "Arm is feeling great, really loose. I felt like I had some good rhythm out there. Pitches are coming along really well. Fastball is coming out pretty well. Obviously a little bit of fine tuning to do but for the first sim game I felt that that was really good."
Paxton has been on the disabled list since April 9 and has missed 81 games.
AS YOU KNOW…Hisashi Iwakuma (7.0 IP, 10 SO), Danny Farquhar (1.0 IP, 2 SO) and Fernando Rodney (1.0 IP, 2 SO) combined to strike out 14 while not walking a batter last night, but DID YOU KNOW?…that it was just the fourth time in franchise history (1977-c) that the Mariners have struck out at least 14 while not walking a batter?…it hadn’t happened since June 24, 1997, when Randy Johnson tossed a complete game vs. Oakland and struck out 19 while not walking a batter…Johnson (8.0 IP, 15 SO) and Norm Charlton (1.0 IP, 2 SO) combined on June 14, 1993 vs. Kansas City and Mark Langston struck out 16 in a complete game on May 10, 1988 vs. Toronto.
ROSTER MOVE…catcher Jesus Sucre (#2) will be active for tonight’s game after being recalled from AAA Tacoma…catcher John Buck has been designated for assignment.
ODDS AND ENDS…won last night, and are 2-2 in last 4…have won 6 of 8, 12 of 16 and 15 of last 21 games…22-12 since June 1…tied for the 4th-best winning pct (.551) in the American League…won 8 of last 10 home games since June 15.
· The Standings – Mariners are 3rd in AL West, 7.0 back of Oakland and 3.5 back of 2nd-place LAA.
· Dominating – Felix Hernandez ranks 1st in the AL in ERA (2.11), 2nd in strikeouts (145), T3rd in wins (10), 1st in quality starts (17), 2nd in innings pitched (136.1) and 1st in WHIP (0.895).
· 10+ Hits – When recording 10+ hits the Mariners are 28-4 (.875), best W-L% in AL.
· Batting Race – Robinson Cano is 5th in the AL with a .320 batting avg (105x328).
· The Closer – Fernando Rodney is 1st in the AL with 26 saves (26-for-28 in save opps).
· Multi-Hit Special – Robinson Cano is T4th in the AL with 33 multi-hit games…T6th with 105 hits.
· Flashing the Leather – Mariners lead the AL with a .987 fielding percentage (42 E, 3,295 TC).
· Maurer Power – Brandon Maurer has not allowed a run in 4 games in relief (7.0 IP, 3 H, 9 K, 2 BB).
BACK TO .500 AT SAFECO…the Mariners improved to 22-22 at Safeco Field with last night’s 2-0 win over the Twins…have won 8 of last 10 home games to pull the season home record even…during this 10-game stretch at Safeco the pitching staff has recorded a 2.00 ERA (20 ER, 90.0 IP) and an .188 opponent batting average (60x319)…limited opponents to 1 or fewer runs in 5 of the 10 games (2 shutouts)…had not been .500 at home since they were 10-10 after winning on May 23.
STINGY PITCHERS…over the last 3 games Mariners pitchers have allowed only 10 hits for a .095 batting average (10x105)…during this stretch the bullpen has allowed only 1 hit in 38 at-bats (.026 avg) over 12.0 shutout innings (3 BB/1 IBB, 1 HBP)…overall, the Mariners bullpen leads the Majors with a 2.45 ERA and leads the AL with a .211 opponent average.