Ramirez, Zych among Mariners' callups
HOUSTON -- Right-handed relievers Jose Ramirez and Tony Zych, infielder Shawn O'Malley and outfielder Stefen Romero were called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday as the Mariners took advantage of rosters expanding to begin their September callups.
Zych will be making his Major League debut, while the other three all have previously had brief stints in the Majors.
O'Malley, a 27-year-old utility player from Richland, Wash., played 11 games for the Angels last season and hit .188 in 16 at-bats. He'll give the Mariners some depth at shortstop behind fellow rookie Ketel Marte, as well as in center field, where Brad Miller is targeted to play most days now following Monday's trade of Austin Jackson to the Cubs.
Manager Lloyd McClendon said O'Malley would be Miller's primary backup in center, a position he played a little last year while with the Angels and for five games in a row last week for Tacoma. O'Malley said he's willing and ready for whatever opportunity arises and is doubly pleased to be getting that shot now for the team he grew up following as a youngster in eastern Washington.
"I was a huge fan of Edgar Martinez, Dan Wilson, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner. Those were my idols growing up," O'Malley said. "It's cool to not only be a Mariner, but see those guys around the clubhouse. Once a year, my dad would get tickets from his work, and either me or my brother would go with him to a game. It was a treat."
O'Malley hit .297 with 50 runs, 11 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 20 stolen bases in 89 games for Tacoma.
Ramirez was acquired from the Yankees in the Dustin Ackley trade on July 30. He was with the Mariners for a few days following that trade, but didn't pitch before being optioned to Tacoma. The 25-year-old does have 11 games in the Majors with the Yankees over the past two seasons (0-2, 7.62 ERA in 13 innings).
Ramirez had a 9.00 ERA in 13 innings in nine outings for Tacoma after posting a 2.90 ERA in 49 2/3 innings of relief for the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club, and McClendon said the club needs to see what it has for next year in the hard-throwing right-hander since Ramirez is out of Minor League options.
Romero, 26, played 72 games for Seattle last season and hit .192 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 177 at-bats. The former Oregon State standout batted .292 with 37 doubles, 17 homers and 79 RBIs in 116 games for Tacoma.
"It's always a blessing to come up again," Romero said. "I'm just excited to be part of the team again and to get things going."
Romero said he's scheduled to play winter ball this offseason for Tigres de Aragua in Venezuela, along with fellow Tacoma outfielders Jabari Blash and James Jones and pitcher Vidal Nuno.
Zych, 25, was acquired from the Cubs on April 1 and has put up a 2.98 ERA in 40 games between Double-A Jackson and Tacoma this season. He was 1-2 with four saves, a 3.41 ERA and 37 strikeouts with nine walks in 31 2/3 innings over 25 appearances for the Rainiers after posting a 2.16 ERA and five saves with 18 strikeouts and no walks in 16 2/3 innings in 15 games for Jackson.
"The reports say he's got a good arm," said McClendon. "He throws 95-98 [mph] with good secondary stuff, a slider and changeup. He competes well, high-intensity kid. We'll see."
"It's the experience of a lifetime," said Zych. "I don't really have words to describe it. I don't know if it's really sunk in yet."
The Rainiers conclude their season Monday and more players are expected to be added then, including catcher Mike Zunino, who was sent down Saturday and must spend 10 days in the Minors or wait until the end of the Minor League season before being recalled. Zunino went 4-for-4 with two homers on Monday for Tacoma and was 7-for-12 with three homers in his first three games.