After a promising 2-2 start to the toughest stretch of their season, the Mariners made a pair of moves to reinforce the back end of their bullpen and backup catcher spots prior to heading out to the East Coast.
The Mariners have activated Juan Nicasio and Chris Herrmann from the DL. Whalen and Freitas optioned back to Tacoma.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) June 18, 2018
Nicasio has been nearly untouchable in eight appearance from May 18 - June 5, when he he logged 9.0 innings allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out 16. He was then tagged for four runs (three earned) on five hits in 1.1 innings on June 6, following which he was placed on the disabled list with a right knee effusion.
Herrmann earned himself a promotion back to the big leagues on May 27 to claim the role as the backup to Mike Zunino in large part due to the plate discipline he showed off down in the PCL, where he was 2nd in the league in walks at the time of his promotion. He was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique three on May 30. After starting the last five days for the Rainiers, the M’s have opted to take his left-handed bat over Freitas’ right-handed bat on their upcoming road trip during which they’re projected to see eight right-handed starting pitchers over 10 games.
Whalen heads back to Tacoma, likely to reassume a starting role, after giving the team a gutsy four inning outing out of the pen on Friday against Boston to keep things close long enough for the Mariners offense to complete the come-from-behind win.
Freitas, who is running a wRC+ of 68, has also failed to be the defensive stalwart you’d typically expect from a backup catcher who doesn’t hit all that much, and will now get an opportunity to receive more regular at-bats in Tacoma.