Mariners claim ex-WSU standout Hamilton

September 26th, 2020

Ian Hamilton, a right-handed pitcher who grew up in Vancouver, Wash., was claimed off waivers by the Mariners on Friday after being designated for assignment on Sept. 18 by the White Sox.

The 25-year-old was assigned to Triple-A Tacoma, meaning he’s on Seattle’s 40-man roster but won’t join the club for the final weekend of play in Oakland. The Mariners’ alternate training site wrapped up on Monday. Hamilton has one Minor League option remaining after this season.

Hamilton led Skyview High in Vancouver to the Washington 4A state championship in 2013 and played three seasons at Washington State before being drafted in the 11th round by the White Sox in 2016. He was No. 17 on the White Sox Top 30 Prospects list.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder pitched in four games for the White Sox this year, posting a 4.50 ERA with four strikeouts in four innings. He spent most of the season at the White Sox alternate training site after dealing with a shoulder issue.

Hamilton also pitched for the White Sox in 2018, going 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight innings over 10 appearances. He missed much of the '19 season after needing surgery to repair multiple facial fractures after being hit in the face by a line drive during a game for Triple-A Charlotte.

Hamilton’s addition puts the Mariners’ 40-man roster at 38 players.

Rookies look to go out strong
The Mariners' long-shot postseason hopes expired during their off-day on Thursday, when the Astros beat the Rangers to eliminate any chance of Seattle claiming the No. 2 spot in the AL West, and the Blue Jays beat the Yankees to clinch the final AL Wild Card berth.

But that doesn’t mean the Mariners don’t have anything left to play for as they close things out with the four-game weekend series in Oakland, including the chance for some of their young players to finish strong seasons. Center fielder  is looking to put the final touches on a potential American League Rookie of the Year Award season, while fellow rookies  and  make their final starts in Saturday's doubleheader.

Sheffield (4-3, 3.75 ERA) will pitch the first game at 1:10 p.m. PT, live on MLB.TV. Since losing to the A's in his second outing back on Aug. 3, the 24-year-old lefty has gone 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA in seven starts. Dunn (3-1, 4.20 ERA) will start the second game, with the Mariners serving as the home club in that contest since it’s the makeup of a Sept. 3 game in Seattle. The 25-year-old righty is 2-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his last five outings.

Sheffield said Friday that it hurt to see Seattle's postseason hopes come to an end, but he noted that nobody expected the young club to be in that position in the first place.

“We didn’t really have a lot of people on our side, as far as us having a good year,” Sheffield said. “But for us to come out and compete and show we’re capable of being a team in the future to contend and make a playoff pitch, that’s huge -- especially with most of these guys being in their first years. For that to happen so quick with our guys, and then the chemistry we have in our locker room, it’s going to be fun to watch in the future. I’m excited for it.”

Finishing plans
Mariners manager Scott Servais said he’ll likely use a few more of his young relievers like Joey Gerber, Erik Swanson and Yohan Ramirez in higher-leverage roles in the final series now that the club has been eliminated.

Rookie catcher Joseph Odom started in place of Luis Torrens in Friday’s opener, but that was more a function of Torrens being a little worn down after playing eight straight days prior to Thursday’s off-day, including seven starts.

“Luis came in today a little sore and we’ll need both catchers tomorrow [for the doubleheader],” Servais said. “We have been playing him a lot, coming from a guy who hadn’t played much at all when we acquired him. I think he’s done an outstanding job for us.”