There has been a ton of head-scratching about what’s gone on with Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez the past two weeks. Well, I’ve got the full lowdown on it now and it involves both Ramirez and Jon Garland. And no, Ramirez will not be starting the season in the majors. He’s going to Class AAA. Ramirez threw six innings of two-run ball in a game against the Rockies back on March 16. But the Mariners at the time faced a tough decision on whether to keep starting pitcher Jon Garland, who had an “out” clause in his contract due to be exercised six days later — the day after Ramirez’s next start. The Mariners at that point decided to start Garland the night before that “out” clause could take effect — against the Chicago Cubs the night of Ramirez’s next scheduled outing. Instead of starting Ramirez, the team piggybacked him in relief of Garland that night so they could get a full look at Garland against MLB competition. Ramirez was supposed to make a start three or four days after that. But the Cubs lit him up and he was pulled after just two innings. That’s when he complained of triceps tightness — normal for pitchers in spring training — and the team backed him off. He was originally scheduled to throw between 55 and 60 pitches against the Dodgers tomorrow in another relief outing behind Felix Hernandez. Instead — because nobody knows how many innings Hernandez might pile up before reaching his allotted pitch count — Ramirez is now scheduled to throw in a minor league game. And no, he isn’t heading north with the team on Opening Day. I’m told there is no intention of using him in a bullpen role. He’s being built up strictly as a starting pitcher an that will require having him start in AAA until his arm is ready. As for the idea Ramirez would have made the team in any event had he not felt tightness in the Cubs game, I have been told that was far from certain. Ramirez had certainly stayed close with the pack in terms of contending for a final spot. But other factors still would have come into play: like his potential durability over an entire season, given his injury history last year where he was sidelined a month with an elbow problem.
The lowdown on what’s going on with Mariners pitcher Erasmo Ramirez
Seattle Times | Mar 26