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Gonzales fans 8 as Mariners blank White Sox

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- On a day when Mariners manager Scott Servais said he needed more from his starting pitching, Marco Gonzales delivered.

Coming off an eight-strikeout effort last week against the Astros, Gonzales threw six-plus brilliant innings and matched his season high with another eight strikeouts on Tuesday in the Mariners' 1-0 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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CHICAGO -- On a day when Mariners manager Scott Servais said he needed more from his starting pitching, Marco Gonzales delivered.

Coming off an eight-strikeout effort last week against the Astros, Gonzales threw six-plus brilliant innings and matched his season high with another eight strikeouts on Tuesday in the Mariners' 1-0 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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"Every time out, I'm trying to build off of something I did the last time," Gonzales said. "I'm just trying to take positives out of every start and build on it and stay aggressive."

Gonzales managed to pitch out of a couple of jams when necessary, using a pickoff and a double play to avoid trouble in the first inning before he notched his final strikeout with two runners on the corners in the sixth.

Video: SEA@CWS: Segura makes sprawling stop to rob Thompson

Mitch Haniger, who had homered in four straight games, didn't extend the streak on Tuesday, but he did come through with a fourth-inning RBI single that drove in Kyle Seager, who doubled with two outs. Haniger finished 1-for-4 with three strikeouts.

His lone hit, however, accounted for all the offense the Mariners needed.

Video: SEA@CWS: Haniger singles in Seager to open scoring

"I was just trying to hit the ball hard," Haniger said. "Luckily, it squeaked through and got the run across."

Gonzales, who finished one strikeout off his career best of nine, scattered five hits and walked one. After opening the first inning with back-to-back hits, the White Sox went hitless until Tim Anderson led off the sixth with a single.

Relievers Dan Altavilla and Marc Rzepczynski protected the 1-0 lead in the seventh when they retired the next three hitters, stranding Moncada at second base. Edwin Diaz earned his ninth save of the season with a perfect ninth.

Video: CWS@SEA: Diaz fans Moncada to earn his ninth save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pickoff move: After allowing back-to-back singles Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez in the first inning, Gonzales picked off Anderson in a confusing play in which both Anderson and Sanchez got caught up in rundowns. Anderson, who started at second, was eventually nabbed at third on what went down as a 1-4-5-3-6-5 caught-stealing, while Sanchez made it back to first. Gonzales then induced a more conventional 5-4-3 double play from Jose Abreu to escape the inning.

"After the pickoff, my confidence went way up," Gonzales said.

Video: SEA@CWS: Mariners nab Anderson in a rundown

Leave them looking: With the Mariners leading 1-0 in the sixth inning, Gonzales protected the razor-thin margin when he struck out Matt Davidson looking. The strikeout, Gonzales' eighth of the day, came after he allowed a two-out single to Welington Castillo that pushed Anderson to third. White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected by home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook after a vociferous argument over the called third strike to Davidson.

"You're picking the right times when you want to extend Marco and [show] him that we do have a lot of faith in him and trust in him," Servais said. "He was still throwing the ball really well at that point and made pitches when he needed to. [I'm] happy for him, and we had just enough offense today, as well."

Video: SEA@CWS: Renteria ejected for arguing with the umpire

HE SAID IT
"I tried to use every advantage I could get. Talking to a couple of hitters in the first inning, saying, 'What are you seeing out there, what's kind of deceiving?' … Guys just said, 'Everything that comes out looks like a fastball -- you don't know what it is.'" -- Gonzales, on making the most of the shadows hitters had to deal with as part of Tuesday's late afternoon start

UP NEXT
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (2-2, 5.06 ERA) has shown flashes of rediscovering his old form, but has yet to truly get rolling and will look for his first victory since April 10. Hernandez will face Chicago's James Shields in a matinee set for 11:10 a.m. PT on Wednesday.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Seattle Mariners, Marco Gonzales

Servais 'bullish' on starters despite struggles

Manager confident rotation will 'get over the hump' of delivering short starts
Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Mariners manager Scott Servais realizes starting pitching will play a major role if his team is going to get into a winning rhythm.

But as the Mariners continue to scuffle along, the club has had trouble getting any sort of length out of the rotation on a regular basis. In Monday night's 10-4 loss to the White Sox, Mike Leake lasted just 3 1/3 innings and surrendered eight runs. While Leake's outing was the shortest of any Seattle starter over the past five games, his short night certainly wasn't the first the Mariners have experienced of late.

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CHICAGO -- Mariners manager Scott Servais realizes starting pitching will play a major role if his team is going to get into a winning rhythm.

But as the Mariners continue to scuffle along, the club has had trouble getting any sort of length out of the rotation on a regular basis. In Monday night's 10-4 loss to the White Sox, Mike Leake lasted just 3 1/3 innings and surrendered eight runs. While Leake's outing was the shortest of any Seattle starter over the past five games, his short night certainly wasn't the first the Mariners have experienced of late.

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Leake's five-hit, two-run outing vs. the Indians on April 1 was the Mariners' only seven-inning start this season. Over the past turn through the rotation entering Tuesday, Servais' starters have only lasted more than five innings once, when Felix Hernandez pitched 5 1/3 innings Friday against the Rangers. But Erasmo Ramirez and James Paxton were unable to reach the fifth inning in their most recent start. 

Marco Gonzales helped buck the troubling trend by tossing six-plus strong innings in the Mariners' 1-0 win over the White Sox on Tuesday.

"We need to get more innings out of our starting pitching," Servais said before Tuesday's game, stressing the way the Mariners' bullpen has been taxed this season.

"Ultimately, to put [winning] streaks together, you have to have consistent starting pitching that can keep you in the game."

Video: SEA@TEX: Hernandez gets Profar swinging to end 3rd

If Servais has noticed a common denominator, it has been how hard opposing teams have hit the ball against the Mariners' starters. The White Sox, who had lost seven straight games and were outscored, 27-2, while being swept by the Astros over the weekend, continually made solid contact off of Leake, who struggled to keep the ball down and out of the strike zone.

Servais has stressed the importance of not holding anything back from the start. Rather than "leaving any tricks in the bag," Servais has instructed starters to throw their full complement of pitches instead of relying on a fastball to attempt to get through an opposing lineup.

The struggles have caught Servais offguard a bit. While Hernandez has shown glimpses of what he is capable of, Paxton has struggled to find any solid footing, and Leake allowed seven straight hits to start the first inning on Monday, which put the Mariners in a hole. Reliever Wade LeBlanc pitched 4 2/3 innings to keep Servais from having to reach deeper into his bullpen.

While Servais is confident the Mariners' offense is capable of scoring enough runs to keep his team competitive, the starters -- at some point -- will need to pitch deeper into games.

"It'll get there -- we're not there right now, [but] I'm really bullish on our guys," Servais said. "But it's something we need to get over the hump."

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Seattle Mariners

Haniger homers but Mariners sunk early

Zunino launches first HR but Leake allows 8 runs during 3 1/3 IP
Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Mitch Haniger kept his home-run streak alive, but the White Sox hit Mariners starter Mike Leake hard and often, making Haniger's feat a footnote during the 10-4 loss on Monday night.

As much as the Mariners' right-hander labored to keep his pitches away from White Sox hitters, his pitches instead found Chicago's bats. By the time Leake departed after allowing eight runs and 12 hits over just 3 1/3 innings, the White Sox had done enough damage to snap a seven-game losing streak.

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CHICAGO -- Mitch Haniger kept his home-run streak alive, but the White Sox hit Mariners starter Mike Leake hard and often, making Haniger's feat a footnote during the 10-4 loss on Monday night.

As much as the Mariners' right-hander labored to keep his pitches away from White Sox hitters, his pitches instead found Chicago's bats. By the time Leake departed after allowing eight runs and 12 hits over just 3 1/3 innings, the White Sox had done enough damage to snap a seven-game losing streak.

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From the beginning, Leake's problems were easy to detect.

Video: SEA@CWS: Leake strikes out Engel in the 3rd

"I was giving them too many pitches to hit in the middle of the plate," he said. "Some games are going to be that way, and unfortunately, today was that way."

Leake added: "The hitters in the game are going to dictate how far you're going to go sometimes. Today, I just didn't go deep."

Haniger homered for the fourth consecutive game with a solo shot in the seventh inning and finished the night 2-for-4 with a double. The Mariners also got a two-run Mike Zunino homer in the fifth to cut into an eight-run deficit. But by the time the Mariners got on the board, the White Sox had chased Leake, who failed to retire a hitter in the game until Chicago had sent eight batters to the plate.

Video: SEA@CWS: Zunino cranks a two-run home run to left

"We've seen Mike struggle a little bit in the first inning before, but the ball was up tonight and he had a hard time getting it down and out of the middle of the plate," said manager Scott Servais, who characterized the loss as a "clunker". "Mike's been outstanding for us. He just didn't have it tonight."

Jean Segura added a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning for the Mariners, who ran themselves into a double play in the seventh following Haniger's home run when Zunino and Daniel Vogelbach got caught in a rundown before both ended at second base.

Video: SEA@CWS: Segura plates Gamel with a sacrifice fly

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hit parade: Leake allowed a triple to Yoan Moncada to start the first inning. The White Sox strung together seven consecutive hits and scored five runs before Leake, who threw just 65 pitches before his exiting in the fourth inning, finally got Tim Anderson to fly out. Moncada finished a single shy of the cycle.

Blast off: The Mariners had managed just one hit until the fifth inning when they finally tagged White Sox starter Carson Fulmer with a pair of runs. Zunino connected on his first homer of the year, a 428-foot, two-run shot that followed a Haniger double.

Mariners patient as Healy nears return

SOUND SMART
With the first inning outburst, the White Sox became the first team to put together seven consecutive hits since the Rockies accomplished the feat on Sept. 17, 2014, against the Dodgers.

HE SAID IT
"That's a situation where, I mean, I don't know if anyone definitively knows the rule with that stuff,"
-- Zunino, on the baserunning confusion in which he and Vogelbach were called out after approaching second base on a pickoff attempt

Video: SEA@CWS: White Sox turn fortuitous double play

UP NEXT
Left-hander Marco Gonzales (1-2, 5.94 ERA) hasn't won since April 3, but is coming off an impressive outing in which he didn't allow an earned run and struck out eight over 4 2/3 innings. The White Sox have not yet named a starter for Tuesday's game, which is set to start at 2:10 p.m. PT.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners patient as Healy nears return

First baseman slated to play 2 Minor League games at Double-A
Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy has moved closer to a return from the disabled list, but manager Scott Servais said Healy won't rejoin the Mariners before he's ready.

Healy, who has been out since April 9 with an ankle injury, was scheduled to play for Double-A Arkansas on Monday night. Servais said before Monday's game against the White Sox that Healy will likely play for the Travelers against Tulsa on Tuesday.

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CHICAGO -- Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy has moved closer to a return from the disabled list, but manager Scott Servais said Healy won't rejoin the Mariners before he's ready.

Healy, who has been out since April 9 with an ankle injury, was scheduled to play for Double-A Arkansas on Monday night. Servais said before Monday's game against the White Sox that Healy will likely play for the Travelers against Tulsa on Tuesday.

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Healy is hitting 3-for-7 with a home run, four RBIs, two walks and three runs scored. But after starting the regular season with the Mariners in a 1-for-21 slump, Healy was showing signs of turning things around before spraining his ankle in a postgame workout April 7.

"I think Ryon wants to get back and get it going," Servais said. "His season got off to a slow start and he wants to turn it around so when he's ready and when I get the word he's ready, he'll be back."

Video: SEA@SF: Healy drives home Haniger with a single

Seeing live pitching at the Minor League level is a "night and day difference" from the Majors, Servais acknowledged. But given the time Healy has missed, getting some swings in during a game environment will be key, Servais said, to Healy being able to impact the Mariners once he returns.

"Triple-A is as close as you get to the big leagues so some guys benefit from it more than others," Servais said. "I think where Ryon is at right now, you want to get his timing down before he comes back."

Honoring Farquhar
The Mariners hung the jersey of White Sox relief pitcher Danny Farquhar in their dugout on Monday, three days after Farquhar suffered a brain hemorrhage in the dugout.

Farquar, who was with the Mariners between 2013-15, remains hospitalized and is still in critical condition although doctors are encouraged by the progress he has made. Farquhar suffered the hemorrhage when a ruptured aneurysm caused a brain bleed during the sixth inning of the White Sox loss to the Houston Astros.

Video: Justice gives an update on Farquhar on The Rundown

He underwent surgery on Saturday and according to his medical team, has use of his extremities and is speaking with doctors and family members.

Servais said the idea to display a Mariners jersey with Farquhar's name and number was the idea of several of his former teammates.

"I certainly agree with it," Servais said. "Anytime anybody goes down in the baseball family and certainly a guy that has played within your organization, it's the right thing to do."

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Seattle Mariners

These are the Top 30 international prospects

MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

Long before Louis Eljaua rose to special assistant to the president and general manager of the Cubs, he was the young and energetic top international scout for the Marlins. Back then, his boss was Al Avila, now the general manager for the Tigers.

Eljaua vividly recalls a conversation with Avila in 1998 like it happened yesterday. Each time he tells the story of that famous call, he puts his right thumb to his ear and talks into his right pinkie like it's the old hotel phone he used.

Long before Louis Eljaua rose to special assistant to the president and general manager of the Cubs, he was the young and energetic top international scout for the Marlins. Back then, his boss was Al Avila, now the general manager for the Tigers.

Eljaua vividly recalls a conversation with Avila in 1998 like it happened yesterday. Each time he tells the story of that famous call, he puts his right thumb to his ear and talks into his right pinkie like it's the old hotel phone he used.

Top 30 International Prospects list

"I found the guy, Al! I found the guy our owner was looking for. He's 15. Come to Venezuela," Eljaua shrieked through the phone.

Avila, who was in Miami at the time, was not pleased to hear the news. The Marlins had never spent more than $30,000 on an international teen.

Top International Prospects

"Are you crazy, Louis? [Owner] John Henry gives us money and you are going to spend it all on your first trip and the first kid you see? Are you trying to get us all fired? What is wrong with you?"

"I know, I know," Eljaua answered. "Just come see the kid. He's good. You won't be sorry."

That kid was Miguel Cabrera. And less than a year later, the teenager signed with the Marlins for $1.8 million to launch his future Hall of Fame career and forever set the standard for international teenage prospects.

The hunt for the next Cabrera continues, and each year an increasing number of prospects sign when the international signing period begins on July 2; hundreds more will join Major League organizations later this summer.

Led by catcher Diego Cartaya -- who like Cabrera is from Maracay, Venezuela -- the players on MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 30 International Prospects list represent the greatest young talent from across the globe eligible to sign on July 2.

The ultimate goal is nabbing a baseball unicorn like Cabrera. But signing a horse like Cartaya, a hard-hitting catcher with advanced skills, or other emerging international prospects also offer teams options.

Video: Top International Prospects: Diego Cartaya, C

Remember, the Cubs traded top teen Gleyber Torres of Venezuela to the Yankees as part of a deal for Aroldis Chapman in 2016, and the rest is World Series history. Last year, they traded the Dominican Republic's Eloy Jimenez to the White Sox in a deal for Jose Quintana. Both are the top prospects in their organizations. Back in '16, the Red Sox traded Yoan Moncada in a package to the White Sox for pitcher Chris Sale. The A's acquired Franklin Barreto from the Blue Jays in a deal for third baseman Josh Donaldson in '14.

"If you are not investing time and money and effort to sign international players, you are missing out on making your organization one of the best in the game," Eljaua said. "Why would you ignore a market and just focus on one or two ways to acquire talent when these guys are going to play in your system, hopefully in the big leagues, or be a part of a package that helps you fill a missing piece? And it's not all about the money and paying the most money. It's about scouting and working and finding out about makeup and helping your entire system."

Who is signing whom
More than 950 prospects have signed during the international signing period that started July 2, 2017, and that number could increase during the 2018-19 period, because there are thousands who have registered to become eligible.

In addition to prospects from traditional baseball hot spots like the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and the Bahamas, there are also prospects from places like Europe, the Caribbean islands and Asia who have also registered.

Video: Top International Prospects: Marco Luciano, OF

As far as the list is concerned, the Dodgers are the favorites to sign Cartaya. Marco Luciano, a power-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic, a close second behind Cartaya in the rankings, is linked to the Giants. Outfielder Misael Urbina of Venezuela, who is ranked No. 3, is an advanced hitter expected to have an above-average hit tool and plus speed. He is linked to the Twins. Rounding out the top five is Venezuelan right-handed pitcher Richard Gallardo, linked to the Cubs, and Orelvis Martinez, a power-hitting shortstop from the D.R. sometimes compared to a young Adrian Beltre. The Blue Jays are the favorite to sign Martinez.

Video: Richard Gallardo named top int'l pitching prospect

Breakdown
This year's Top 30 International Prospects list includes 10 players from Venezuela, 16 from the Dominican Republic, three from Cuba and one from Colombia. The positions break down like this: 11 outfielders, eight infielders, seven pitchers and four catchers.

The best athletes at premium positions are the most appealing to international scouts. Three of the top 13 are catchers and three of the top 10 are pitchers. Shortstops and center fielders are also highly coveted in this year's class.

International signing rules, spending
There are specific guidelines for signing prospects like Cartaya: An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of the next year if he is 17 or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract.

Video: Cartaya tops MLB's international prospects list

The rules for signing international prospects are these: Clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft receive a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive $5,504,500. All other clubs receive $4,983,500.

International amateur free agency & bonus pool money explained

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

In terms of spending, the Blue Jays, Brewers, D-backs, Mariners, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, Twins and Yankees are expected to be aggressive in the upcoming signing period. The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals -- teams that will no longer be in the penalty for exceeding their past international bonus pool spending -- are also expected to be very active.

The A's, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox are in the maximum penalty, so they cannot sign players for more than $300,000 during the upcoming period.

"We are all looking for the next Miguel Cabrera, but I think it's unfair to compare anybody to him because he was just on another level," Eljaua said. "But the reality is, my old team already paid me for that sign. I'm getting paid to find another one. That's what the job is."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Mariners reacquire Elias, target rotation role

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Looking to add to their starting pitching depth, the Mariners reacquired left-hander Roenis Elias from the Red Sox on Monday in exchange for a player to be named or cash, and they assigned him to Triple-A Tacoma.

Elias has been pitching in relief for Boston's Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate, but the Mariners will build up his pitch count and transition him back to a starting role, general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

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SEATTLE -- Looking to add to their starting pitching depth, the Mariners reacquired left-hander Roenis Elias from the Red Sox on Monday in exchange for a player to be named or cash, and they assigned him to Triple-A Tacoma.

Elias has been pitching in relief for Boston's Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate, but the Mariners will build up his pitch count and transition him back to a starting role, general manager Jerry Dipoto said.

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Elias started 49 games for the Mariners from 2014-15, but he never found a niche with the Red Sox and was moved to the bullpen this year after an injury-plagued 2017 season. The 29-year-old was 1-0 with one save and a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings through four games with Pawtucket this season.

"I know he's been here before -- it's a name that has come up in the past," manager Scott Servais said. "He might be able to help us out. I think they're talking about stretching him out and starting him at Tacoma, but we'll see what happens. I think it's a really good arm and a guy that creates some depth if we need it as we go along in the season."

Elias was sidelined much of last season with a strained oblique muscle, and he went 1-6 with a 6.96 ERA in 10 rehab starts over several Minor League levels. He made just one appearance for Boston last year, getting a strikeout and a walk in a 10-4 loss to Toronto on Sept. 4.

Elias pitched in three games for the Red Sox in 2016, making his lone start -- ironically against the Mariners -- on June 17 at Fenway Park and giving up seven hits and seven runs over four innings in an 8-4 loss. He spent most of that season with Pawtucket, going 10-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 games, including 19 starts.

The Mariners originally signed Elias as a free agent out of Cuba in 2011. He posted a 3.97 ERA with Seattle from 2014-15 in 51 games (49 starts) before he was dealt to the Red Sox with Carson Smith for Jonathan Aro and Wade Miley in December 2015.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Roenis Elias

'Complicated': GM discusses optioning Heredia

GM says decision based on upcoming matchups, Ichiro's clubhouse contributions
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto understands the negative reaction from many fans to sending outfielder Guillermo Heredia down to Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday and instead keeping aging veteran Ichiro Suzuki on the roster.

But Dipoto said keeping Ichiro at this point isn't about public relations, rather managing the 25-man roster as best as possible through some tricky scenarios.

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SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto understands the negative reaction from many fans to sending outfielder Guillermo Heredia down to Triple-A Tacoma on Sunday and instead keeping aging veteran Ichiro Suzuki on the roster.

But Dipoto said keeping Ichiro at this point isn't about public relations, rather managing the 25-man roster as best as possible through some tricky scenarios.

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"Based on the reaction, if it was about PR, we probably would have done it the other way," Dipoto said.

What the Mariners are doing is buying time to work through several unexpected occurrences. A short outing by James Paxton in Saturday's win over the Rangers prevented the club from sending down a reliever and sticking with a five-man outfield for now, as had been the plan.

Further roster decisions are pending with the return of first baseman Ryon Healy, who is rehabbing from a sprained ankle with Double-A Arkansas and expected back in a few days.

Dipoto isn't ready to jettison Ichiro yet because he sees value beyond the playing field production and wants to keep him in the organization in some capacity rather than designating him for assignment at this point.

The 44-year-old is hitting .250/.289/.250 in 36 at-bats after going 2-for-3 with a pair of walks in Sunday's 7-4 loss at Texas. His 3,089 career hits rank 22nd on the all-time Major League list.

"Sometimes, managing a 25-man roster is more complicated than it seems from the outside," Dipoto said. "I don't think people realize the impact Ichiro has made in our clubhouse in one-and-a-half months in mentoring young teammates and even the older players who respect him so much.

"There has to be a balance in decisions and not solely what you see on the field. And that's not to take away from the quality of teammate Guillermo is as well. This was not an easy decision, but it's also not a permanent decision. Right now we're just doing our best to work through some choppy waters with the roster."

After facing left-hander Martin Perez in Sunday's series finale in Texas, Dipoto notes the Mariners won't face another southpaw starter for the remainder of their road trip. While Heredia has hit right-handers well in limited opportunities this season, his career line against right-handers is .225/.312/.297, as opposed to .290/.350/.411 vs. lefties.

Video: SEA@MIN: Heredia crushes a two-run shot to left

"Outside of today, we won't see another left-hander for 10 days," Dipoto said. "That's Guillermo's niche, so he wouldn't be playing much more than late-game defense. Our thought while navigating through this is to give Guillermo the chance to play regularly and my assumption is he'll be back in 10 days."

In other words, things aren't completely settled yet with a Mariners roster that already has seen designated hitter Nelson Cruz, catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Ben Gamel and now Ramirez return from the disabled list in the last week.

Once the pieces settle, Heredia definitely remains a part of the long-term plan. The 27-year-old has hit .310 with two homers and four RBIs in 29 at-bats in the early going and is regarded as an outstanding defender.

"This was not an easy decision and not something we love," Dipoto said. "Guillermo is a big part of what we do. We anticipate him being with us throughout the season."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Guillermo Heredia, Ichiro Suzuki

Ramirez can't hold Rangers in DL return

Right-hander not 'crisp' in 4 2/3 innings; Haniger delivers homer, two doubles
Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- After missing all of Spring Training and most of the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle, Erasmo Ramirez missed with several pitches during a rough fourth-inning stretch Sunday, and that was enough for a 7-4 loss to the Rangers.

Ramirez wasn't pleased with his outing, perhaps because he had been so sharp in three Minor League rehab appearances, posting a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.

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ARLINGTON -- After missing all of Spring Training and most of the first month of the season with a strained lat muscle, Erasmo Ramirez missed with several pitches during a rough fourth-inning stretch Sunday, and that was enough for a 7-4 loss to the Rangers.

Ramirez wasn't pleased with his outing, perhaps because he had been so sharp in three Minor League rehab appearances, posting a 2.13 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.

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"The only good point is just not being sore, not feeling the stuff that was in Spring Training," Ramirez said. "But now there's no more time for excuses. I got my games in the Minors and I was executing more pitches than what I did today."

During a 10-pitch span in that decisive inning, Ramirez threw eight balls and two strikes -- both hit for home runs. Three consecutive at-bats -- Nomar Mazara's solo shot, Adrian Beltre's walk and Joey Gallo's two-run homer -- led to Ramirez's downfall.

"That's what happens when you get behind in counts," Ramirez said.

Otherwise, Ramirez pitched capably, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters before Mazara's homer. Ramirez allowed a leadoff single in the second to Beltre, and the Rangers manufactured a run with two groundouts to score Beltre. Ramirez also gave up a run in the fifth inning before he exited, as Juan Centeno doubled and scored on Shin-Soo Choo's infield single.

Ramirez threw 4 2/3 innings, allowed five runs on five hits, walked one and struck out one.

Video: SEA@TEX: Ramirez strikes out DeShields to end the 3rd

"The stuff wasn't as sharp or as crisp," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "He got through the fourth inning, that was a little bit fuzzy, his stuff started to back off a little bit. I ran him out in the fifth and thought it was a good time to go get [reliever James Pazos] at that point."

Pazos drew praise from Servais for his 2 2/3 scoreless innings, which not only spared an overworked bullpen but kept the score close until Nick Vincent allowed two runs in the eighth.

"We would not have been in the game except for [Pazos]," Servais said. "He kept it close, but unfortunately we couldn't keep it close enough to catch up there at the end. But a good series, we won the series, it would have been nice to get the sweep today. I thought we had certainly plenty of chances, we just didn't get a couple big hits."

The Mariners left 12 runners on base Sunday and had the tying run at the plate against Rangers closer Keone Kela before falling short.

Mitch Haniger was the only Mariner who seemed to thrive with men on base Sunday. He finished a torrid series in Arlington with a 3-for-5, three-RBI day punctuated by a two-run homer and two doubles. He was 7-for-12 with three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs in the series.

Video: SEA@TEX: Haniger rips RBI double to left in the 5th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Segura's diving stop can't stop Choo: The Rangers' fifth run scored with two outs and a runner on third in the fifth, when Choo slapped a grounder in the hole to shortstop Jean Segura's right. Segura managed to get to the ball and make a fine diving stop on the edge of the grass, but he couldn't come up with it cleanly in time and Choo beat out the throw to first.

Video: SEA@TEX: Choo drives in a run on an infield single

Juan Centeno came home on the play for what turned out to be the winning run.

SOUND SMART
Few hitters in baseball history have been as adept as Ichiro Suzuki at turning softly hit balls into singles. Case in point: the exit velocities on Ichiro's two infield singles were 46.3 and 80.6 miles per hour, per Statcast™.

Video: SEA@TEX: Ichiro reaches base four times vs. Rangers

By comparison, teammate Nelson Cruz currently leads the Majors with an average exit velocity of 98.8 mph.

UP NEXT
Right-hander Mike Leake will make his fifth start of the season in the first game of a three-game series against the White Sox Monday night in Chicago. Leake allowed five earned runs on seven hits in his last start in Houston. He'll face struggling Sox righty Miguel Gonzalez, who is 0-3 with a 12.41 ERA and went just three innings against the A's last time out. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners option Heredia, keep Ichiro as 4th OF

Right-hander Ramirez activated from 10-day DL; M's observe Earth Day; Gordon out of Sunday's starting lineup
Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Faced with the necessity of a roster move to activate Sunday's starter, Erasmo Ramirez, the Mariners decided the best bet was to send down an outfielder. At least based on recent performance, Ichiro Suzuki would have seemed the odd man out -- but the future Hall of Famer is staying, at least for now, and Guillermo Heredia is headed to Triple-A Tacoma.

Heredia has a slash line of .310/.417/.552 in 29 at-bats this season, with a double, two homers and four RBIs. Prior to Sunday, Ichiro was at .212/.212/.212 with seven hits, all singles, in 33 at-bats -- but he did reach base four times, with two infield singles and two walks, in the Mariners' 7-4 loss to the Rangers.

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ARLINGTON -- Faced with the necessity of a roster move to activate Sunday's starter, Erasmo Ramirez, the Mariners decided the best bet was to send down an outfielder. At least based on recent performance, Ichiro Suzuki would have seemed the odd man out -- but the future Hall of Famer is staying, at least for now, and Guillermo Heredia is headed to Triple-A Tacoma.

Heredia has a slash line of .310/.417/.552 in 29 at-bats this season, with a double, two homers and four RBIs. Prior to Sunday, Ichiro was at .212/.212/.212 with seven hits, all singles, in 33 at-bats -- but he did reach base four times, with two infield singles and two walks, in the Mariners' 7-4 loss to the Rangers.

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One reason Ichiro stayed instead of Heredia is Ichiro is left-handed, manager Scott Servais said before Sunday's game. The other factor, Servais said, is that they didn't feel comfortable sending down a reliever from their recently taxed bullpen.

"Based on where that's gone the last couple days with our starting pitching and how much we've relied on the bullpen, that really wasn't an option," Servais said. "After that, looking at the upcoming schedule really did play into it. We have seven consecutive right-handed starters after today.

"Heredia has done a nice job for us. He certainly has got a role with us. Our whole group thought playing time-wise, over the next week … the rest of the road trip is right-handed starters, so that's where it went. Heredia will be back with us, he's a good player, we love the way he plays and how he goes about it. Again, it's about managing all the pieces, and that's the decision that we made."

So Ichiro, who started in right field Sunday, will be the fourth outfielder in Chicago and Cleveland. Servais acknowledged that the 44-year-old, one of the most accomplished players ever to wear a Mariners uniform, has not made massive contributions to the club thus far this season.

Video: Must C Catch: Ichiro leaps to rob Ramirez of a homer

"Ichi's had some days that have been more productive than others," Servais said. "I think when he's come in, he's given us what we thought we were going to get in the sense of he puts the bat on the ball. He's made a couple decent plays in the outfield and a couple others, he didn't great jumps on. But I love having him around. I think he's been a very good influence in our clubhouse and what he does there, and like I said, we'll see how this plays out over the next week, 10 days or so."

Heredia and Ichiro had similar performances at the plate last season. Heredia played in 123 games last year for the Mariners, batting .249 with a .652 OPS. Ichiro played in 136 games for the Marlins, posting a .255 average and a .649 OPS.

On Earth Day, Mariners lead the league in eco-efforts
Major League Baseball joined in on the Earth Day celebrations Sunday, and the Mariners are one of the league's leaders in sustainability efforts. Last year, they won the inaugural "Green Glove" award presented by MLB to the eco-friendliest club.

Among Seattle's environmentally conscious efforts are the installation of LED field lighting at Safeco Field; the league's best recycling practices with 96 percent of Safeco Field's waste diverted from landfills; a public-transit partnership with Sound Transit to provide free access to fans heading to the ballpark; solar power at the stadium; and club-operated gardens that are used to source food for Safeco concessions.

Also, Mariners front-office employees have been celebrating Earth Day throughout the entire month of April, with volunteer opportunities at urban farms and non-profit organizations.

Gordon out with minor foot issue
In Sunday's series finale, Servais kept center fielder Dee Gordon, who had a sore foot, out of the starting lineup but said Gordon would be available as a substitute later in the game if necessary.

Gordon had a key double in Saturday's win and is hitting .325 with nine stolen bases. He had started every game this season prior to Sunday.

"It is really hard to take him out," Servais said. "I love having his energy and the pressure he puts on the other team … it's more precautionary."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington.

Seattle Mariners, Guillermo Heredia, Erasmo Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki

Mariners acquire RHP Quezada from D-backs

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- The Mariners made a minor deal on Sunday, acquiring right-hander Edwin Quezada from the D-backs in exchange for international slot money.

Quezada, 21, posted a 1.74 ERA in 15 games, including three starts, last year in the Dominican Summer League. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder struck out 46 in 41 1/3 innings with 17 walks, while holding opposing hitters to a .205 batting average.

SEATTLE -- The Mariners made a minor deal on Sunday, acquiring right-hander Edwin Quezada from the D-backs in exchange for international slot money.

Quezada, 21, posted a 1.74 ERA in 15 games, including three starts, last year in the Dominican Summer League. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder struck out 46 in 41 1/3 innings with 17 walks, while holding opposing hitters to a .205 batting average.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners

Fans react to tasting grasshoppers at FoodFest

At the beginning of last season, the Mariners unveiled a new and spectacular attraction. No we're not talking about Jean Segura or Mitch Haniger, we're talking about toasted grasshoppers.

Mariners knock off Rangers with 5-run 7th

Cano, Haniger homers cap pivotal frame in comeback win
Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Their starting pitcher didn't have his best stuff, and neither did their closer. Their defense was spotty. But fortunately for the Mariners, their hitters had enough power to get past the Rangers in an uneven 9-7 win on Saturday night.

"We got it done," manager Scott Servais said. "Some nights it's ugly, but the key is you get it done."

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ARLINGTON -- Their starting pitcher didn't have his best stuff, and neither did their closer. Their defense was spotty. But fortunately for the Mariners, their hitters had enough power to get past the Rangers in an uneven 9-7 win on Saturday night.

"We got it done," manager Scott Servais said. "Some nights it's ugly, but the key is you get it done."

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Homers by Robinson Cano and Mitch Haniger in a five-run seventh inning helped wage a comeback win, continuing an offensive awakening that began the previous night at Globe Life Park.

The Mariners eked out the win even though James Paxton lasted only four innings, Edwin Diaz needed a career-high 40 pitches to close out the game, and the defense turned a couple of would-be outs into base hits. In the end, just before midnight CT after an 85-minute rain-delayed start, the seventh-inning outburst made the difference.

"It was on our offense tonight and our guys stepped up, got some big hits, put a nice rally together, and it was enough," Servais said.

Video: SEA@TEX: Haniger smashes a solo homer in the 7th

Rangers starter Bartolo Colon left with a two-run lead after 5 2/3 innings, and then the Mariners knocked around reliever Alex Claudio the next frame. They logged four consecutive hits off Claudio -- Guillermo Heredia's pinch-hit single, Dee Gordon's bloop double, Jean Segura's RBI double and Cano's dinger.

After reliever Chris Martin came in for Claudio and recorded two outs, Haniger smashed a ball over the left-field fence for the Mariners' final run. Cano paced the offense with three hits, three runs and two RBIs on his go-ahead homer in the seventh.

Paxton and Diaz both had trouble finding home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom's strike zone, as both the left-handed starter and the right-handed closer walked three batters each.

For Paxton, the four-inning outing was his shortest of the season. He threw 32 pitches in the first inning and 33 in the third as his pitch count ballooned and kept him from working any deeper into the game.

"I didn't have anything sharp tonight ... I was basically just kind of spraying hard fastballs up there, that was about it," Paxton said.

Video: SEA@TEX: Diaz secures a four-out save vs. Rangers

Tasked with getting a four-out save with righty Juan Nicasio on a rest day, Diaz walked three batters in the ninth, but managed to earn his eighth save in as many opportunities this season.

Before the final out, a bases-loaded flyout by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Servais and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. used the last of their mound visits to reassure Diaz.

"Stay relaxed and make your pitch, you're the man here, you've been in this situation before, get the out,'" Diaz said of the message. "Do your job, you'll be fine."

The offense did. Coming off a stretch of five games in which they scored two or fewer runs, the Mariners have scored 15 runs on 27 hits in the first two games of this three-game series.

"Any time you face really tough pitching, sometimes it gets the best of hitters, but we just go out there and battle and keep swinging the bats, and keep our heads up, and it was great tonight and last night," Haniger said.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Nelson Cruz's 453-foot screamer to left certainly had more oomph behind it than Cano's 345-foot, soaring shot to the shallowest part of Globe Life Park, near the triangular fence in the right-field corner. But Cano's homer was the go-ahead shot despite being more gently hit. It left the bat at 97 mph, with a heavily undercut 42-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™, while Cruz's liner had an exit velocity of 113 mph and a launch angle of 23 degrees. More >

Video: SEA@TEX: Cruz goes deep after replay of foul ball

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Segura made an athletic, unusual play with one out and runners at the corners in the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo lined a ball right at Segura, but high enough to force the shortstop to leap for it. The ball popped out of Segura's glove -- but he turned around and caught it in the air for the out, keeping the inning from getting away from the Mariners. Perhaps he deserved both an assist and a putout for his efforts.

Video: SEA@TEX: Segura tips ball to himself for a catch

SOUND SMART
Gordon has a long, successful history with Colon, going 14-for-35 (.400) for his career against the 44-year-old righty. He had two hits off Colon on Saturday as well as a double after Colon left.

Video: SEA@TEX: Gordon plates Zunino with a two-out single

UP NEXT
Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez, who came off the disabled list Sunday morning, will square off against struggling Rangers lefty Martin Perez at 12:05 p.m. PT on Sunday in the series finale at Globe Life Park. Ramirez has been hampered by a lat injury that has kept him out since the beginning of Spring Training.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Haniger, James Paxton, Kyle Seager, Jean Segura