7/20/2014 3:45 P.M. ET
Maurer settling into, enjoying new relief role
By Earl Bloom / Special to MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Mariners right-hander Brandon Maurer said he loves his new role as a reliever.
"I'd say that I found my place," said Maurer, who broke into the Major Leagues in 2013 as a starter, but has pitched eight consecutive scoreless outings in relief (12 2/3 innings) since his conversion.
"It's just been exciting, and unbelievable," he said.
Manager Lloyd McClendon was particularly impressed with Maurer in the ninth inning Saturday. The Angels' Howie Kendrick opened the inning with a double off the glove of leaping shortstop Brad Miller. But Maurer struck out David Freese looking, retired Efren Navarro on a popup and then struck out Chris Iannetta to send the game into extra innings.
"Maurer was pretty darn good," McClendon said. "Especially considering the circumstances of how that inning started, with a play like that [Kendrick's double, which Miller nearly caught]. [Maurer] shut them down pretty good."
Maurer made seven starts for the Mariners earlier this season, and 14 as a rookie. He said his reaction to his role change was positive from the start.
"I was pretty excited about it," Maurer said. "I started the year in the 'pen in Triple-A, and I liked it."
Cano out of Mariners' lineup with hamstring tightness
ANAHEIM -- All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who has been playing through hamstring issues, was not in the Mariners' lineup against the Angels on Sunday.
"Robby's tight and sore," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He asked for a day off, so he's off.
"It's been a tough grind for him. He's only had one day off in the first half, played in the All-Star Game, traveled. It just makes sense after 28 innings [the past two nights]."
Cano had an eight-game hitting streak snapped Saturday, and he has hit .462, with six RBIs, in the past nine games.
Willie Bloomquist got his second start at second base.
• McClendon said before Sunday's game he would stay away from using right-handed reliever Danny Farquhar for a second day because he's a little sore after pitching two innings Friday.
"The four days off [for the All-Star break] hurt all our guys," the manager said. "I could probably use him [Farquhar] if I wanted to, but I won't."
• The Mariners still haven't named a starting pitcher for Tuesday at home against the Mets. McClendon, who had hoped to be able to do so Sunday, said in all likelihood the Mariners would call someone up from the Minor Leagues, although reliever Tom Wilhelmsen -- who pitched a career-high four innings in Friday's 16-inning marathon -- remains an option. Wilhemsen made his first Major League start July 10 against the Twins in similar circumstances.
Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.