Kelley pleased Triple-A work led to callup
Ramirez sent down to stretch out for potential spot start
SEATTLE -- The Mariners recalled right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley from Triple-A Tacoma, general manager Jack Zduriencik announced prior to Saturday's game against the Twins. Fellow right-hander Erasmo Ramirez was optioned to Tacoma.
"It feels good; that's what you work for," Kelley said. "Went down there, worked hard and just tried to do whatever I could do to hopefully get back."
Kelley, who started the season on the Mariners' Opening Day roster in Japan before being optioned to Tacoma upon the Mariners' return to the United States, is available for Saturday night's game at Safeco Field. The 28-year-old made one appearance with the big league club, taking the loss in a March 29 appearance after allowing one run on a solo homer while recording just one out.
Kelley appeared in 10 games for Seattle last September after recovering from partial Tommy John surgery in August 2010. He said his arm feels the best it has since before the surgery and his velocity has seen a slight increase.
"I feel better arm-strength-wise than I did last September," he said. "I'm still a year and a half from surgery, so I think just recently in the last few weeks I've started to really get the full extent of my shoulder and arm strength back.
"My velocity's gone up a little bit. You can tell when it's coming out of your hand. I don't know exactly where it's at, but I know I have been talking with [Tacoma pitching coach] Dwight [Bernard] a few times down in Tacoma and he's saying, 'You're velocity's continuing to go up.' So, it feels good."
With Tacoma, Kelley has turned in five straight scoreless appearances and has allowed just two earned runs overall in 14 2/3 innings of work. He's 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA with the Rainiers, striking out 19 and walking just four.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he wanted to stretch out the 22-year-old Ramirez -- who didn't record a decision while posting a 2.45 ERA in his seven appearances with the Mariners this season -- in case the Mariners needed a spot starter in the future.
"I thought he did a good job," Wedge said of Ramirez. "He broke in, we used him in different types of situations -- I thought he handled himself well, for the most part.
"I think he gained some invaluable experience being up here and we're deep enough into the season now to where if we did need a spot starter, he wouldn't be able to give us a great deal, pitch-count-wise."
Struggles continue in one-run ballgames
SEATTLE -- Friday's 3-2 loss to the Twins marked the third straight game the Mariners have lost by one run, and the fourth in their past five contests. It's the first time they've dropped three consecutively by one run since June 21-23, 2011, against Washington.
Seattle is 3-7 this season in one-run games, which leads the American League in losses by a single run.
"We've gone through a lot here the last week," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after Friday's defeat. "Look at all these tight ballgames, they'll be better for it, stronger for it and wiser for it.
"I keep talking about that hump that we've got to get over. When you get late in ballgames, that's where experience takes over. We're trying to get these young men to the point to where they're comfortable in those situations to where they can execute or produce."
Pitchers prep for interleague, take batting practice
SEATTLE -- With an interleague series at Colorado on the horizon (May 18-20), Mariners pitchers took batting practice prior to Saturday's game with the Twins.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge, who said he caught a little bit of the action on the television in his office, smiled when asked if he'd think about pinch-hitting any of the pitchers.
"We got plenty of volunteers, they'll all do it, you know that," he said with a laugh. "Hitters want to pitch and pitchers want to hit."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge moved Brendan Ryan to the second spot in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Twins. Wedge said Friday he was hoping to eventually move Ryan back up to the top of the order following a shakeup of the lineup that left a vacancy there.
Ryan, who is hitting .149 with four RBIs, went 2-for-3 in Friday's loss to the Twins, and gives Wedge a right-handed batter at the top of the order between Dustin Ackley and Ichiro Suzuki, both lefties.
Catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero is batting 15-for-32 (.469) with three home runs and eight RBIs in the nine games he has been behind the plate. With Miguel Olivo on the 15-day disabled list, Montero and John Jaso will share catching duties.