8/10/2013 1:30 A.M. ET
Young Mariners awestruck by Griffey's presence in town
By Jacob Thorpe / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- When Brad Miller was a kid, he was such a big fan of Ken Griffey Jr.'s that he wore No. 24 for his Little League team, also called the Mariners in honor of Seattle's legendary center fielder. So forgive Miller -- now a shortstop for Mariners -- if he's still a little awestruck around the idol of his youth.
Griffey is back in Seattle -- for which he played in 10 All-Star Games and was named the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player -- to be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday's game against the Brewers.
"It adds to the whirlwind [of being a rookie]," Miller said. "Getting to see your favorite player inducted into the Hall of Fame for your team is pretty sweet. We're just trying to keep up the tradition that him and all those other guys started."
Griffey spent the last two years of his career playing for the Mariners after spending over eight years with the Reds, as well as a brief stint with the White Sox. Now retired, Griffey often dispenses advice to young players in the Seattle organization.
One such player is Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in the 2009 Draft. This year, Ackley has transitioned from second base to the outfield, starting 20 games as a center fielder, the position Griffey played while winning 10 Gold Glove Awards with Seattle.
"It's awesome, just to play the same position he did on the same team," Ackley said. "Just the whole experience of him being in this organization, being able to talk to him. He's always been the guy to talk to, whether you're young or old, good player or bad player, he's there to help."
Start skipped, Ramirez used out of 'pen in loss to Crew
SEATTLE -- The Mariners decided to skip Erasmo Ramirez's turn in the rotation on Friday, but they didn't keep the 23-year old out of the ballgame. Ramirez came out of the bullpen to pitch 1 2/3 innings in Seattle's 10-5 loss to the Brewers, but will keep his spot in the starting rotation.
"We're looking at him to finish the season in the rotation," pitching coach Carl Willis said before the game. "It would probably be just an emergency if we used him. We used [long reliever] Brandon Maurer -- he threw 74 pitches on Wednesday -- so in Erasmo's case, we'd use him if it presented itself early in the ballgame."
The opportunity presented itself when starter Joe Saunders gave up a grand slam to Yuniesky Bentancourt in the fifth inning to put the Brewers up 9-2 in Friday's 10-3 loss. Ramirez gave up one run on three hits with one strikeout in relief.
Ramirez is 3-1 with a 7.25 ERA in five starts this year. Since he was used in relief, Ramirez will likely flip his scheduled start Tuesday at the Rays with Aaron Harang, who is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
"You just continue throwing the ball, go out play catch, do your work," Ramirez said. "Just don't be chilling around. Keep your body in shape. In the bullpen, you have to be ready in case they need you, you have to be ready every day. They skipped my start and everything. I follow the rules of what they said and just tried to figure out myself what I have to do to be ready."
• Franklin Gutierrez will begin his fourth rehab assignment of the year on Saturday. The oft-injured center fielder won the 2007 Gold Glove Award for his defensive prowess, and is hitting .267 with five home runs in just 18 games this season. However, due to a number of ailments, Gutierrez has played in just 58 games over the past two seasons.
"Each time he's slowly gotten a little better, but he's not really back to where he feels that he can come out and be part of every day -- whether he plays every day or not, he's still got to be counted on in the dugout when he's not starting," acting manager Robby Thompson said. "If he's not starting, it doesn't mean he's not available. We've talked about that, that's what he's got to try to get to."
• Kendrys Morales is on a tear, going 20-for-38 over his last nine games. He has seven multi-hit games in that span, and leads the American League with 30 hits since the All-Star break.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.