SEATTLE -- As expected, the Mariners' rotation during the final three weeks of the season will take on a slightly different look. Rookie Erasmo Ramirez is now slated to start on Tuesday in Toronto, and Hector Noesi will also get a nod at some point.Manager Eric Wedge had expressed the intention earlier in the week to give Ramirez and Noesi -- who were recalled from Triple-A Tacoma when rosters expanded after Sept. 1 -- starts before the end of the season. "I'm excited about it. I like to be a starter," Ramirez said. "I am with the relievers, but I'm on the Mariners. I just like everything. They want me as reliever, I go to relief. I like starting, so all I have to do is do my work. Just go and throw strikes, be smart, throw strikes and mix my pitches." That, of course, means alterations have to be made to the current rotation, which consists of Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan and Kevin Millwood. "We're just giving guys extra days," Wedge said. "Everybody's going to keep getting their starts, but we're going to give them more time and extra days." That won't be the case for two of the starters -- Hernandez and Vargas. The two pitchers at the front of the rotation will stay on track, pitching every five days. Meanwhile, Iwakuma, who took a four-game win streak into Saturday's start but did not get a promise from Wedge that he would stay on track in the rotation, did get his manager's endorsement. "I just need him to do what he's been doing, really, to be honest with you," Wedge said. "If he continues to just pitch the way he's been pitching, then you got to like what you see."
Ollie gaining comfort in Mariners' bullpen
SEATTLE -- Oliver Perez is in a very unfamiliar role coming out of the Mariners' bullpen, but the former starter has found a part of being a reliever he very much enjoys."I feel pretty good. I like being in tough situations," he said. "When I was a starter, we normally would have those situations. That's one of those things now, that's how you win games, trying to get outs in those tough situations. Now, as a reliever, that's your job, just keep your team in the game. Don't let the other team score when you're on the mound." The 31-year-old, who is in his 10th year in the Majors, is getting accustomed to the ins and outs of relief pitching. For instance, he knows the danger of walks can be especially high for a reliever. "I'd prefer they hit on contact on something because you have more guys there and they can make a play," he said. "You don't have to strike [them] out every time. I just have to try to be around the zone and try to throw the [fewest] pitches in an inning." So far, it's been as successful as Perez could have hoped. The southpaw hasn't allowed a run in his past 18 appearances -- a stretch of 13 1/3 innings -- since July 8. He joins the Orioles' Troy Patton as one of two relievers in the American League to throw more than six innings in that span without allowing any runs. "He's done a great job this year and has pitched so effectively for us and really had some big outs for us," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "He's handled right-handers pretty well, and I think he'll continue to get better against left-handers. He's starting to find his arm slot and doing a better job with his secondary stuff against left-handers. And it's good stuff. His location has been better. I've been really pleased with what we've seen from Oliver."
After 4 1/3 frames on Friday, the bullpen's scoreless streak reached 12 2/3 innings. Mariners relievers have allowed just one run this month. John Jaso and Jesus Montero have started 81 of the Mariners' 139 games, both batting over .300 when behind the plate. Combined with the team's third catcher, Miguel Olivo, Seattle backstops have hit a club-record 23 home runs.
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.