8/10/2014 1:26 A.M. ET
Mariners call on Ramirez for start; Luetge sent down
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez will be recalled by the Mariners on Sunday and start the 1:10 p.m. PT series finale against the White Sox, manager Lloyd McClendon said Saturday.
The Mariners optioned reliever Lucas Luetge back to Triple-A Tacoma after Saturday's 2-1, 10-inning loss to the White Sox, which opens the 25-man roster spot for Ramirez. Luetge was recalled on Friday but didn't appear in any games in his latest stint with Seattle.
A position player will likely be added when Ramirez is optioned back to Tacoma after his Sunday start, with outfielders James Jones or Michael Saunders the likeliest options. Saunders is on a rehab stint from a strained oblique but has played only three games.
Ramirez will fill a spot that opened when the club pushed Felix Hernandez back to Monday to get an extra day of rest and then face a Blue Jays squad that is fighting Seattle for the final American League Wild Card berth.
Ramirez, 24, started the season in Seattle's rotation before being sent down to Triple-A Tacoma after going 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts. But he's since been called up various times for spot starts, and this will be his fifth time back with the club, having posted a 1-5 record and 4.35 ERA in 12 outings.
Ramirez threw seven innings of two-run ball with 10 strikeouts in his most-recent return in a 3-1 loss to the Mets on July 22. He's gone 3-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 12 starts for Tacoma.
"He threw the ball good and hopefully he has that type of command again," McClendon said of the youngster's last outing in Seattle. "If he does, we have a good chance of winning the game. He's thrown pretty good down [in Tacoma]. Not great, but he's held his own."
The Mariners currently have only four other starters on their 25-man roster, having sent Roenis Elias down after his outing on Thursday. But Ramirez figures to get just the one spot start and return to Tacoma again, as the club can go with a four-man rotation with an off-day coming up Thursday.
Seattle won't need a fifth starter until Aug. 19 in Philadelphia, at which point Elias will be eligible to return since he'll have exceeded the 10-day minimum requirement for a player sent down to the Minors.
Bloomquist sets sights on Spring Training
SEATTLE -- Willie Bloomquist was back in the Mariners clubhouse Saturday after undergoing microfracture knee surgery on Friday, but the veteran utility man will be wearing crutches instead of one of his many gloves for the remainder of this season.
The 36-year-old says he'll be ready to return by Spring Training after having the procedure on his right knee performed by Mariners medical director Dr. Ed Khalfayan.
"My plan is to be full go before spring," he said. "The only way I won't be is if I do something stupid, which I've maybe been known to do a time or two when I push through things I'm not supposed to. But in this situation, I do have a little extra time with the last two months of this season and all offseason.
"So given that, I fully anticipate being 100 percent before spring or at spring at the latest. That's my mindset. That's what I'm going to get to and that's where I will be, come Spring Training."
Bloomquist had similar microfracture surgery on his left knee after the 2009 season with the Royals and returned in time to start the 2010 season. He said this procedure was somewhat different as doctors took cartilage from another area and patched the microfracture hole to improve healing, while also cleaning up some other issues.
"It's something I've dealt with before," he said. "The rehab stinks, there's no way around that. But what is my alternative? I'm going to be fine. I'll make it through this. It's just another pothole in the road I'll need to get over. I'm going to be OK."
Bloomquist said his knee already feels better than before he went in for surgery, though now he must deal with the pain of not being able to help the Mariners down the stretch as they fight for a postseason berth. The 13-year Major League veteran has another year on his Seattle contract at $3 million, but this season is going exactly the way he'd hoped when he re-signed with his hometown club last winter.
"It's been a tough pill to swallow," he said. "This is the situation I wanted to be in, in Seattle for a long time, being in a playoff race. For me, that stings a little. But I'm certainly not going to let my personal sorrows bring down what's going on here. We have a chance to do something special in here, so for me being around and part of it and giving my support to my teammates is important. Obviously I'm not going to be available this year, but I can still support these guys and that's about all I can do."
Bloomquist said he won't travel with the team but will be at all the remaining home games. His season ended with a .278 average in 47 games as he played every position except center field and catcher.
• Kendrys Morales got the start at first base Saturday, with Logan Morrison moving to designated hitter. It was Morales' third start in the field since he was acquired from the Twins on July 25.
"Just switching it up a little," McClendon said. "I think first base energizes Morales a little bit and we've got a day game tomorrow and [Morrison] will be back out there. I don't want to go night-day with him. We have to watch him as well [due to a sore foot]."
• The Mariners went into Saturday's game with a 3.02 ERA, which is a 1.29 improvement from last year's 4.31. That improvement is the best in the Majors this year and would be the fifth-best of any MLB club since 1980 if it holds for the rest of the year. The 1997 Tigers had the biggest drop in ERA in that span, a 1.82 improvement from 6.38 to 4.56.