Pryor up, Walker down as M’s set up weekend plans

The Mariners recalled right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor from Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday and optioned starter Taijuan Walker to Tacoma to set up their pitching prior to the All-Star break.

Pryor gives the Mariners a ninth reliever as they head into a Thursday game against the Twins with an expected all-bullpen start, though that hasn’t yet been announced by manager Lloyd McClendon.

But Pryor’s addition provides extra support in a bullpen that already was carrying an extra arm, while Walker will now be able to start on his normal rest in Tacoma to stay sharp over next week’s All-Star break.

The Mariners are currently listing a TBA for Thursday’s start, but will likely go with a group of relievers from a bullpen that leads the American League in ERA this season. Tom Wilhelmsen and Brandon Maurer are both capable of pitching three-inning stints.

McClendon has already announced that Felix Hernandez has been pushed back a day to start Friday’s series opener against the A’s. Walker had tentatively been projected to start Saturday, but his absence sets Hisashi Iwakuma up to start that day on normal rest and Chris Young to do the same on Sunday.

Pryor will be available for Wednesday night’s 7:10 p.m. game against the Twins. The 24-year-old is 2-1 with one save and a 4.91 ERA in 21 games for Tacoma after spending most of last season in the disabled list following surgery to repair a torn lat muscle.

Pryor appeared in 33 games with the Mariners from 2012-13 with a 2.97 ERA in 30 1/3 innings while averaging 10.09 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. He worked 7 1/3 scoreless innings over seven relief outings to start the 2013 season before spending the rest of the season on the disabled list.

Walker, the Mariners top prospect, went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts since being recalled on June 30 after spending the first two months of the season on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.

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