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Horrified Tayler Scott accidentally opens portal to Tacoma, grinning Dan Altavilla emerges from it

The unfortunate Opener returns to the minors for a mercurial fireballer.

MLB: Seattle Mariners-Media Day Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners are grooving to the bullpen shuffle once again.

Despite his historic import as the first South African pitcher to appear in an MLB game, Tayler Scott has struggled in his first few appearances of his career. The 27-year-old righty saw his command escape him, giving him little leeway despite getting hitters to chase on some nasty sliders. He’ll return to the PCL, where it’s little safer for pitchers, but hopefully the command can be refined.

Emerging in his place is an old friend - Dan Altavilla. One of just two remaining players from the 2014 draft in the system, Altavilla can relate quite easily to Scott’s struggles with the zone. Despite a tireless work ethic and one of the livest arms in the organization, Altavilla has constantly fought with possessing merely control at his best or nothing at his worst. He walked five of the nine batters he faced in two appearances earlier this year, placing the 26-year-old back in the minors for an extended stay. He’d looked sharp in Spring Training - another great reminder of the fleeting nature of those performances - and it took a full return to Arkansas to settle his repertoire.

Settle it did, at least for the moment, with Alt striking out 42.1% of the batters he faced and walking just 5.1%. Does that command translate to the slicker baseball of AAA and the Majors? We’ll see. A Dan Altavilla with command is a legitimate MLB reliever, and we’ve seen stretches of that pitcher before. Here’s hoping we see him again.