09/01/08 8:03 PM ET
Mariners roster swells, more on way
Thomas to be used vs. lefties; Valbuena to play second
By Jim Street / MLB.com
The scouting report on Valbuena, according to Riggleman, indicates that "he's a good ballplayer. He's not a burner on the basepaths or has explosive skills, but he's an all-around ballplayer."The return of Morrow as a starting pitcher ranks high on the list of questions that the team hopes will be answered in September. A late-inning reliever during his two seasons, Morrow was sent to the Minors on Aug. 5 to build his arm strength necessary for a starter. His final start for Triple-A Tacoma went superbly, as he allowed no runs and one hit over six innings Sunday afternoon and most likely will be on the mound Friday night against the Yankees. Next to Morrow's insertion into the starting rotation, the play of Tuiasosopo could be a must-see when he spells Adrian Beltre at third base during the final month of the regular season. It's a story of local boy makes good. The 22-year-old turned down a football scholarship from the University of Washington three years ago after being selected in the third round by the Mariners in the First-Year Player Draft. He has methodically been working his way through the Seattle farm system, batting .282 with 13 home runs and 73 RBIs this season. Tuiasosopo grew up in Woodinville, Wash., located northeast of Seattle, is the son of former Seahawks defensive lineman Manu Tuiasosopo and brother of former Huskies quarterback Marques. The Mariners prospect was a three-sport star at Woodinville High, as a quarterback in football, shortstop in baseball and guard in basketball. Three of the players to be recalled have seen duty with the Mariners this season. Lowe was sent to Tacoma on Aug. 25, but did not pitch for the Rainiers, who ended their season Monday. Wells has been promoted twice previously, appearing in one game. Johnson, a September callup last season -- he went 0-for-3 -- becomes the fourth catcher on the roster and is being promoted primarily as a reward for having a solid season at Tacoma, where he batted .302, hit nine home runs, drove in 48 and was selected on Monday to the All-Pacific Coast League team. The league selected 13 of its best players for the roster and will reveal its individual award winners later this week.
Johnson finished with a flourish, hitting safely in 33 of his last 38 games, batting .377 with 26 runs, 10 doubles, five home runs and 25 RBIs. Valbuena had a career-high 13-game hit streak, batting .436 (24-for-55) in the stretch with 12 runs, three doubles, four RBIs and six stolen bases.Thomas started the season with West Tennessee and is 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA in seven games since being called up to Tacoma. Also joining the team on Monday were coaches Pedro Grifol, Seattle's coordinator of instruction in the Minors, and Peoria pitching coach Gary Wheelock. They will stay with the club for approximately two weeks.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.