Needing bullpen help, Mariners recall Lueke
Struggling Seager sent to Triple-A to make room on active roster
TORONTO -- The Mariners' taxed bullpen received some reinforcement Thursday in the form of right-hander Josh Lueke, who was recalled from Triple-A. Infielder Kyle Seager was optioned to Tacoma to make room for Lueke on the roster.
"We just needed a little help in the bullpen," said manager Eric Wedge. "Just because the last couple of days we've got a lot going on with our bullpen."
Seattle went deep into its bullpen in Tuesday's opener of a three-game set with Toronto, getting 2 1/3 innings from Jeff Gray, three innings from David Pauley and 1 2/3 from Jamey Wright in a 14-inning battle.
The Mariners had to dip deep into the 'pen again on Wednesday, as starter Jason Vargas left after just three innings. Wright pitched another inning, Aaron Laffey tossed three and Chris Ray threw one.
Blake Beavan -- who is scheduled to start against the Red Sox on Saturday -- was in the bullpen and available to pitch Wednesday night in case of an emergency or another extra-inning game. Wedge is hoping that now that he has Lueke in the fold, he won't have to ask a starter to come on in relief.
"We should be okay down there -- knock on wood," Wedge said with a laugh.
Lueke has pitched in a variety of roles for Tacoma, closing some games and being used in long relief in others. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder has been stretched out to 49 pitches in recent outings and could be used to eat up multiple innings.
The 26-year-old is 2-4 with 11 saves and a 2.76 ERA in 30 games with Tacoma this season.
"They've been using him at the end of the game a little bit and extending him some, too. He's closed some games for them and also been a multiple-inning guy for them," Wedge said. "He was on and off when he first went down there, but he's been pretty good for a while."
Lueke broke Spring Training with the Mariners but was sent down to Triple-A after going 1-1 with a 17.05 ERA in his first eight big league appearances. Lueke pitched just 6 1/3 innings, giving up 12 hits and 12 earned runs, including a pair of four-run outings.
Wedge said Lueke's biggest problem was simply adjusting to life in the Majors for the first time in his career. Lueke came over in last season's Cliff Lee trade with the Rangers but hadn't pitched in a Major League game until this season.
"I think just being here. Just going through it [was Lueke's biggest problem]," Wedge said. "He got caught up in it a little bit and I think he'll be better for those experiences this time."
The 23-year-old Seager played seven games with Seattle since being called up on July 6, batting .136 (3-for-22) with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Seager will remain with the Mariners for Thursday's game with the Blue Jays and travel to Boston with the team that night before leaving for Tacoma on Friday.
Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.