ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Rob Whalen was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday by the Mariners in yet another move to keep a fresh long reliever available in their bullpen, with lefty Zac Curtis optioned back to Double-A Arkansas after pitching three innings in Friday's 10-4 loss to the Rangers.Whalen, who
ARLINGTON -- Right-hander Rob Whalen was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday by the Mariners in yet another move to keep a fresh long reliever available in their bullpen, with lefty Zac Curtis optioned back to Double-A Arkansas after pitching three innings in Friday's 10-4 loss to the Rangers.
Whalen, who is ranked as Seattle's 11th-best prospect by MLBPipeline.com most recently pitched on Tuesday at El Paso, when he allowed six hits and three earned runs over six innings while throwing 86 pitches. The 23-year-old is 0-4 with a 5.08 ERA in seven starts for Tacoma since coming back from shoulder and calf issues that derailed his Spring Training.
This is Whalen's third stint with Seattle this season, though he's appeared in just one Major League game to date, taking the loss as a spot starter at Boston on May 27 when he gave up five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.
With their rotation racked by injuries, the Mariners have attempted to alleviate the situation by rotating long relievers to prevent the rest of their bullpen from being worn down by too many short outings from the starters.
Curtis was recalled on Friday to replace Chase De Jong, who pitched four innings the previous day. Casey Lawrence, Tyler Cloyd, Chris Heston, Dillon Overton and Emilio Pagan also have been rotated in and out after pitching extensive innings.
A player can't be recalled for 10 days after he's optioned back to the Minors unless he's replacing a player who is going on the disabled list, which precludes Cloyd, Pagan, Lawrence or De Jong being brought back at this point, while Heston is no longer in the organization after being claimed by the Dodgers, and Overton pitched Friday for Tacoma..
Whalen was acquired by the Mariners along with right-hander Max Povse from the Braves for outfielder Alex Jackson and left-hander Tyler Pike in November.
Curtis has now made two stints with Seattle this season. After allowing three earned runs in three innings on Friday, his ERA stands at 5.79 in 4 2/3 innings over three games. The 5-foot-9 southpaw has been named to the Texas League All-Star team for Arkansas, having posted a 2.66 ERA with seven saves in 19 outings.
Due to their injuries and numerous roster moves, the Mariners have used 29 pitchers -- including two position players -- in their first 69 games, the most of any team in the Majors.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [