ARLINGTON, Texas — There’s nothing official yet, but right-hander Brandon Maurer looms as an increasingly likely promotion candidate to start Sunday’s series finale in Miami.
Right-hander Anthony Fernandez, the other top possibility, threw 83 pitches Wednesday in Triple-A Tacoma’s 8-5 victory over Salt Lake (Angels).
General manager Jack Zduriencik said the Mariners would likely look internally for a starter to replace injured Blake Beavan, who was placed Wednesday on the disabled list because of shoulder tendinitis.
Fernandez and Maurer are the only starters in the minors currently on the club’s 40-man roster. Maurer, 23, loomed as a rotation candidate in spring before an ailing back derailed his chances.
Maurer made three relief appearances at Tacoma before throwing 54 pitches Monday in just two innings as a starter. He has allowed two earned runs and five hits overall in 8 1/3 innings with a whopping 17 strikeouts.
McClendon said the Mariners will likely option a non-pitcher to the minors to clear space for Sunday’s starter.
Jones on board
Outfielder James Jones did what virtually every player does when he gets the call to report for the first time to the big leagues.
He called his mom.
“She didn’t understand at first what `being called up’ is,” he said. “But she finally realized it, and she was real excited for me.”
That explanation was easier for Jones than getting from Tacoma to Texas. Jones didn’t arrive in time Wednesday to be in uniform. His gear didn’t arrive until late Thursday morning.
“I tried to sleep (on the plane),” he said, “but I couldn’t do it. I just sat there the whole time and listened to a bunch of music. I just couldn’t wait to get here.”
Jones, 25, was the Mariners’ fourth-round pick in the 2009 draft. He was batting .310 with a .370 on-base percentage in 11 games for the Rainiers prior to his recall.
Outfielder Cole Gillespie continues to make a push for promotion after going two for five with a two-run homer Wednesday in Triple-A Tacoma’s 8-5 victory over Salt Lake (Bees).
Gillespie, 29, is batting .405 with a .490 on-base percentage through 11 games with three homers and 11 RBIs.
It was 14 years ago Friday — April 18, 2000 — that the Mariners suffered an 18-11 loss at Chicago that set a franchise record for runs scored (29) in a game.
The Mariners carried a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth behind Aaron Sele before the White Sox struck for 11 runs. Sele gave up eight runs in three-plus innings. Paul Abbott have up eight in three relief innings.
The Mariners open interleague play Friday when they make their first trip to Marlins Park when they open a three-game weekend series at 4:10 p.m. Pacific time in Miami.
Their only previous trip to South Florida was 2005, when they won two of three from June 7-9 at Dolphins Stadium. Overall, the Mariners hold a 5-4 edge over the Marlins, having gone 3-3 at Safeco Field in 2008 and 2011.
Right-hander Chris Young (0-0 with an 0.00 ERA) makes his second start of the season in Friday’s series opener. He worked six scoreless innings in last Sunday’s loss to Oakland.
Miami is starting righty Nathan Eovaldi (1-1 and 4.19).