July 2013

Bonderman DFA’d, opening likely spot for Ramirez

BondermanTattoosJeremy Bonderman’s comeback stint with the Mariners proved short-lived as the veteran right-hander was designated for assignment on Monday.

The club recalled left-handed reliever Lucas Luetge from Triple-A Tacoma to take his 25-man roster spot, but will need to add a starting pitcher by Thursday when Bonderman’s next start was scheduled.

Seattle now has 10 days to trade, release or outright the contract of Bonderman to the Minors.

Bonderman, 30, went 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA in seven starts after returning to the Majors on June 2 for the first time since 2010 with the Tigers. Bonderman got roughed up in his debut, then pitched well in a four-start stretch from June 7-23 when he was 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 25 1/3 innings. But he was 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in his last two starts while allowing 13 hits with seven walks and 10 earned runs in 8 1/3 innings against the Cubs and Reds.

Bonderman went 2-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 11 starts with Tacoma to start the year after agreeing to a Minor League deal prior to Spring Training.

Luetge, 26, will be available for Monday night’s series opener against the Red Sox at Safeco Field.

The club hasn’t yet named a starter for Thursday afternoon’s series finale against Boston, which would have been Bonderman’s next start after pitching Saturday in Cincinnati. If a starter is promoted from Tacoma, a logical replacement would be Erasmo Ramirez, who has gone 3-3 with a 3.09 ERA in seven starts since returning from an elbow problem in early June.

Ramirez, 23, was contending for a rotation berth this spring before his elbow issue arose late in camp. The Nicaragua native was 1-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 16 games (8 starts) last year for Seattle.

Had Ramirez been healthy, he certainly already would have had a shot at the rotation after rookie Brandon Maurer was sent down, but he needed to build his arm up after missing about two months of action.

Luetge spent all of last season with the Mariners as a Rule 5 Draft pickup from the Brewers. This will be his third stint with Seattle this season. He opened the year on the 25-man roster, then was sent down on April 9 before rejoining the club for most of May. In 11 appearances with the Mariners this season is 0-1 with a 7.15 ERA in 11 1/3 innings.

In 22 games with the Rainiers, Luetge was 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA with one save. He struck out 45 in 31 innings and did not allow a run over his last five outings with Tacoma, striking out 10 in 7 1/3 innings.

Raul racks up one of best months ever at age 41

IbanezMugHow good was June for Raul Ibanez? Good enough that Barry Bonds is the only player older than him to lead a team in home runs and RBIs in the same month since 1993.

Ibanez, 41, led the Mariners with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs in his torrid June. The 10 home runs equaled his personal high for a month, having also reached double digits in May 2009 while with the Phillies.

He became the first Mariner to hit 10 home runs in a month since Edgar Martinez in May 2003. The only American League player with more home runs in June was Baltimore’s Chris Davis with 12.

So Ibanez was red-hot for a player of any age. But a guy at 41? He became the oldest American League player to lead his team in both home runs and RBIs in a month since Dave Winfield topped the Twins in both categories in 1993 at 41.

The only older player in either league to do better since 1993 was Bonds, who led the Giants in home runs (8) and RBIs (17) at the age of 42 in April 2007.

Ibanez heads into July batting .246 with 19 home runs and 45 RBIs in 243 at-bats over 61 games. Not bad for a guy who figured to be a part-time platoon player when he signed with Seattle for one year at $2.75 million.

Ibanez hit .240 with 19 home runs with 62 RBIs in 425 at-bats over 130 games last year with the Yankees.

His 19 home runs already ranks sixth all-time among Major Leaguers aged 41 or older. Winfield is fifth on the list with 21 in 1993 at 41. Darrell Evans hit 22 for the Tigers in 1988 at 41, Bonds hit 26 at age 41 in ’06 and 28 at age 42 in ’07.

The all-time leader is Ted Williams, who hit 29 bombs at age 41 in 1960 for the Red Sox. If Ibanez can hit 11 more in the final three months, he will break that mark.

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