In Shawn Kelley's first appearance of the season, he faced two batters and allowed a critical home run. He was promptly demoted from Seattle to Tacoma.
In Steve Delabar's first five appearances of the season, he faced 19 batters and allowed four home runs. He was promptly...treated exactly the same and has been a favorite reliever of Eric Wedge.
Delabar, of course, also has 17 strikeouts and one unintentional walk, and I'm not saying he should've been demoted on account of four early dingers. But I also didn't think Kelley should've been demoted on account of one early dinger, so I wasn't sure why Kelley was with the Rainiers. In nearly 15 innings with the Rainiers, Kelley generated 19 strikeouts and four walks, without a home run. Shawn Kelley is too good for triple-A, so on Saturday, the Mariners have brought him back.
Seattle #Mariners recall right-handed pitcher Shawn Kelley from AAA Tacoma; option RHP Erasmo Ramirez to AAA Tacoma.— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 5, 2012
And Erasmo Ramirez is gone. It's probably a good thing that Erasmo Ramirez is gone, for the sake of his development. He was on pace for 64 innings, which isn't nothing, but infrequently did he seem as comfortable as the Mariners presumably would've wanted. He made the team because of his ability to hit his spots, and out of the bullpen, he didn't hit enough of his spots. Now he's being replaced by a guy who fits better in the role, and hopefully Ramirez goes right into the Tacoma rotation. The guy's newly 22 and he's always been a starter, so he should be allowed to try to be a starter. Remember that he broke camp with the Mariners after having made just seven starts above double-A.
It'll be interesting to see what this means for Hisashi Iwakuma, if this means anything for Hisashi Iwakuma. He and Ramirez were both right-handed long relievers, and you seldom need two of them. Now Iwakuma is the only right-handed long reliever, unless Kelley counts as a right-handed long reliever. Charlie Furbush is a left-handed potential long reliever. Does Iwakuma get more time? Does Iwakuma get the same amount of time? Does Iwakuma get less time? Iwakuma has pitched in two games. It's May 5th. He says he's okay with his role but he signed a one-year contract. The Mariners aren't only not using Hisashi Iwakuma now; they're actively reducing his potential 2013 salary.
And that's how I've turned a post about Shawn Kelley and Erasmo Ramirez into a post about Hisashi Iwakuma. It'll be good to see how Ramirez progresses in triple-A. And it'll be good to see Kelley back in the Mariner bullpen, because Kelley is a legitimate big-league reliever who has his flaws and his strengths. You can attach that clause to the end of any description of any person and be correct, so take note, word-count inflaters. Oh, unless that person is Albert Pujols. Albert Pujols has only got flaws.
(ed. note: always a treat when Matthew and I double up. It's like old times)