SAFECO FIELD -- The Seattle Mariners shook up their bullpen on Friday by designating struggling left-hander Marc Rzepczynski for assignment.
The team called up former left-handed starter Roenis Elias from Triple-A Tacoma to take Rzepczynski's spot in the bullpen.
"It's a do good league," manager Scott Servais said. "You do good, you stay. Doesn't make it any easier. Certainly a guy that has that much service time and been around... when you put the team together in the offseason, he's certainly got a role on the team. His thing is get the left-handed hitters out and he's been struggling to do that."
Rzepczynski was 0-1 with a 9.39 ERA with 10 strikeouts and nine walks in 18 relief appearances with the Mariners this season. Opposing batters were hitting .342 off Rzepczynski this season with left-handed batter hitting .222. Right-handed batters - which Rzepczynski only had 16 plate appearances against - were batting .636 with a double, two home runs and five walks.
The final straw for Rzepczynski appeared to come Wednesday night against Texas. He entered the game in the seventh inning with runners on second and third base after a leadoff walk by Delino DeShields and a single by Shin-Soo Choo put a pair of runners on as the Mariners tried to protect a 4-3 lead. Left-handed Nomar Mazara laced the first pitch he saw for a two-run single to give Texas a 5-4 lead. After intentionally walking Jurickson Profar to get to another left-handed hitter in Joey Gallo, Rzepcyznski issued another walk to load the bases before exiting the game.
Robinson Chirinos would double off Juan Nicasio to drive in two more runs as Texas scored four runs in the inning to take control of the game.
"It was about Zep and how he fit into the team," Servais said. "And like I said, you have to produce. It's what the big leagues are about. I think we've been very clear since the outset of the season we're all about 2018 and what's going to help us win and take the next step of getting into the playoffs here and everybody has a job to do and he wasn't really effective getting the lefties out."
Elias returns to the Mariners after being re-acquired from Boston in a trade in April. Elias made it to the major leagues with Seattle as a starting pitcher in 2014. Elias and Carson Smith were traded to Boston in December 2015 in exchange for Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro.
"(I'm) happy to be back and always liked it here," Elias said through bench coach Manny Acta.
After missing most of last season due to injury with the Red Sox, Elias was moved to the bullpen in the minor leagues by Boston. Elias was 1-0 with a save and a 1.23 ERA with nine strikeouts and two walks in four games with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Elias returned to a starter role with Tacoma as the Mariners were looking into backup options for their rotation due to injuries to Erasmo Ramirez and early season struggles by Marco Gonzales. However, Gonzales has been terrific in May, posting a 2.30 ERA for the month. Additionally, Wade LeBlanc has seized control of the fifth spot in the rotation, posting a 1.72 ERA in six starts.
That has allowed Elias to become an option out of the bullpen.
-- Catcher Mike Zunino is getting the night off to rest a quad muscle that he tweaked Thursday night against Texas. Zunino indicated he was fine and Servais said it was possible that Zunino would get in the game later tonight anyway if the situation called for it. However, they are being overly cautious and making sure it doesn't become a bigger issue.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - MAY 29: Reliever Marc Rzepczynski #25 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch during the seventh inning of a game at Safeco Field on May 29, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)