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Mariners bolster roster with Paxton, 6 callups

Ace returning from bruised forearm along with some bullpen help
September 1, 2018

OAKLAND -- Some of the Mariners' reinforcements for the final month arrived on Saturday, as the club added six players as September callups and also reinstated left-hander James Paxton from the 10-day disabled list.The club bolstered its bullpen by adding relievers Chasen Bradford, Ryan Cook, James Pazos and Justin Grimm

OAKLAND -- Some of the Mariners' reinforcements for the final month arrived on Saturday, as the club added six players as September callups and also reinstated left-hander James Paxton from the 10-day disabled list.
The club bolstered its bullpen by adding relievers Chasen Bradford, Ryan Cook, James Pazos and Justin Grimm from Triple-A Tacoma, while also promoting catcher David Freitas and newly acquired utility player Kristopher Negron.
Grimm and Negron had to be added to the 40-man roster, so Christian Bergman was outrighted to Tacoma after clearing waivers and fellow right-hander Rob Whalen was designated for assignment to open spots.
Paxton started Saturday's game against the A's after missing two weeks with a bruised left forearm.
Mariners manager Scott Servais isn't a big fan of how the September expanded roster rules change the game and allow teams to use nearly unlimited relievers after five months of managing the game in a tighter fashion, though he does welcome the added options in his bullpen.
"That said, we need the extra guys," Servais said. "We've been going a guy light in the bullpen and it's good to get a few extra arms here and not tax the middle guys as much. When a starter doesn't have it, you can go elsewhere."
Bradford, Cook, Pazos and Freitas have all played for the Mariners this season, while Grimm and Negron are Major League veterans recently added to the organization.
Grimm, 30, was signed to a Minor League deal in mid-July and was 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 17 strikeouts with two walks in 11 innings over 10 appearances with Tacoma. The right-hander opened the season with the Royals and pitched in 16 games, posting a 13.50 ERA in 12 2/3 innings. He's pitched in 301 Major League games -- including 19 starts -- over seven seasons with the Rangers, Cubs and Royals, owning a 20-23 mark with a 5.02 ERA.
Negron, 32, was acquired in a cash trade with the D-backs on Thursday and provides versatility off the bench. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher during five seasons in the Majors with the Reds and D-backs. The veteran hit .283 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs with Triple-A Reno this season and played two games with the D-backs, going 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Pazos played a big role with the Mariners early in the season, but the 27-year-old lefty was sent to Tacoma two weeks ago to work on some mechanical issues. He's 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA and 17 holds in 49 appearances for Seattle and threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings in three outings since being optioned to Tacoma.
Bradford is 5-0 with a 3.23 ERA in 38 appearances over three prior stints with Seattle this season, after being claimed off waivers from the Mets in January.
This will be Cook's second stint with Seattle this season, after he posted a 1-1 record with a 6.75 ERA in 11 games in May and June. He recorded a 2.16 ERA with three saves in 34 outings for Tacoma, after returning from a two-year battle with several injury issues.
Freitas provides a third catcher to work with Mike Zunino and Chris Herrmann. The 29-year-old rookie has a .192 average with a home run and four RBIs in 29 previous games for Seattle this season. He hit .349 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 39 games for Tacoma.
Bergman cleared waivers and remains in the organization. He was 8-10 with a 5.00 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) for Tacoma, as well as 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA in three games (two starts) for Seattle in 2018.
Whalen's status is now up in the air, as the club has seven days to trade, release or outright his contract to the Minors. The 24-year-old pitched four scoreless innings against the Red Sox in one relief appearance this season, but spent the rest of the campaign with Tacoma and most recently at Double-A Arkansas.
Worth noting
• Servais said lefty Marco Gonzales doesn't appear ready to come off the 10-day DL early next week, as initially hoped, so the rotation for the upcoming Orioles series starting Monday at Safeco Field hasn't been set yet.
Gonzales, dealing with a strained cervical muscle in his neck, is getting closer to being ready to throw a bullpen session. But until then, he won't be cleared to rejoin the rotation.
• Dee Gordon was given the day off on Saturday as shortstop Jean Segura returned from a two-game absence with a bruised left shin. Gordon will return to playing mostly second base, but Servais liked what he saw from the brief fill-in at shortstop for Segura.
"I thought he did a great job at shortstop, just firing him out there the last couple games," Servais said. "He certainly has the instincts to play the position and plenty of arm."

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