Aoki not surprised by demotion

Aoki not surprised by demotion

SEATTLE -- Since coming to the Major Leagues in 2012 from Japan, Norichika Aoki has never been in the Minors except for seven rehab games in two separate stints while with the Royals and Giants the last two years.

But the 34-year-old outfielder said he wasn't stunned to learn the Mariners had optioned him to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday as part of a spate of roster moves.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

LeBlanc tops flurry of roster moves by Mariners

LeBlanc tops flurry of roster moves by Mariners

SEATTLE -- Wade LeBlanc was called up by the Mariners on Friday to make his first Major League start since 2014 as Seattle opened a three-game Interleague series against the Cardinals at Safeco Field, while outfielder Norichika Aoki was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma amid a flurry of roster moves.

The Mariners also promoted relievers Donn Roach and David Rollins from Tacoma to bolster a depleted bullpen and placed starter Adrian Sampson on the 15-day disabled list, optioned reliever Tom Wilhelmsen to Tacoma and transferred reliever Tony Zych to the 60-day DL to open a spot on the 40-man roster for LeBlanc.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miley could be close to rejoining rotation

Miley could be close to rejoining rotation

SEATTLE -- The Mariners' beleaguered rotation appears close to getting some reinforcements back as left-hander Wade Miley made a Minor League rehab start in Class-A Everett on Friday night in anticipation of a Wednesday return from the 15-day disabled list due to his sore shoulder.

Miley tossed four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts for Everett, allowing no hits or walks.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners fall in 10 after rallying with 4 homers

Mariners fall in 10 after rallying with 4 homers

DETROIT -- Steve Cishek's 10th-inning wild pitch brought home Cameron Maybin with the winning run, earning the Tigers a four-game series sweep of the Mariners with a 5-4 win Thursday at Comerica Park.

On a day when Seattle lost its starting pitcher in warmups, Cishek was the last available fresh arm when he took the mound. Detroit used its last available position players in the 10th-inning rally, bringing on Maybin to pinch-run for Steven Moya following a one-out walk. Victor Martinez's pinch-hit single moved him to third.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Injuries put Mariners' rotation in flux

Felix, Walker, Miley and now Sampson dealing with ailments; LeBlanc expected to start Friday

Injuries put Mariners' rotation in flux

DETROIT -- The Mariners are returning to Seattle after a 2-8 road trip with a depleted starting rotation. They host the Cardinals in a three-game series this weekend with Taijuan Walker's spot in the rotation due up Friday, but he is battling tendinitis in his right foot.

Wade LeBlanc, recently acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays and sent to Triple-A Tacoma, is expected to make that start instead, though the club has yet to announce it and still has to make a roster move to clear space for him.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sampson's start over before it begins

Rookie feels elbow discomfort while warming up

Sampson's start over before it begins

DETROIT -- Two pitches into his warmup for his spot start against the Tigers on Thursday, Mariners right-hander Adrian Sampson felt discomfort in his right elbow and stepped off the mound, causing manager Scott Servais and the training staff to pay him a visit.

Sampson was pulled before the first pitch of the game, and left-hander Vidal Nuno became the official starting pitcher. Nuno allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings and Seattle used five more pitchers, with Steve Cishek -- who threw a bases-loaded wild pitch in the 10th inning -- the last one. The Mariners fell, 5-4, ending their 2-8 road trip with a four-game Tigers sweep.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fans must start voting now to get in all 35 ballots

Final-week stretch crucial to deciding who will be in starting lineups

Fans must start voting now to get in all 35 ballots

The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot is down to its final week, and here are 10 important things to know as you continue deciding starters for the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.

1. Simple All-Star math: 7 x 5 = 35 ballots cast. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET next Thursday. Fans can submit up to five ballots per any 24-hour period, so Friday is the start of an important window to make sure you use 'em and don't lose 'em.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peterson among top prospect performers Thursday

Top Twins prospect dominant over eight scoreless; Yankees' No. 2 continues to show off power

Peterson among top prospect performers Thursday

Jose Berrios was absolutely dominant in Triple-A Rochester's 2-0 win over Columbus. Berrios (Twins' No. 1) is the No. 15 overall prospect, and after his electric outing, it's very clear why he's so highly regarded.

The 22-year-old needed just 88 pitches, 60 strikes, to throw eight scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out nine.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners' Powell suspended for PED use

Mariners' Powell suspended for PED use

SEATTLE --- Outfielder Boog Powell, one of the Mariners' top position prospects at Triple-A Tacoma, drew an 80-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Thursday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Powell, 23, was acquired from the Rays in November as part of a six-player trade and is the Mariners' No. 8-ranked prospect by MLBPipeline.com. He's put up a .270/.326/.359 line with three homers, 27 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 64 games with Tacoma.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Former closer Wilhelmsen returns to Mariners

Former closer Wilhelmsen returns to Mariners

SEATTLE -- Tom Wilhelmsen's unique storyline with the Mariners took a new turn on Wednesday as the former bartender-turned-closer re-signed with the club on a one-year deal and joined the team in Detroit.

Wilhelmsen had 67 saves and a 2.97 ERA for the Mariners from 2011-15. The right-hander had a 10.55 ERA in 21 appearances with the Rangers, who acquired him from Seattle in the offseason. He was released by Texas last week after declining an outright to Triple-A in a move that forfeited about $1.8 million in remaining salary this season.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Iwakuma tagged for 3 HRs in loss to Tigers

Iwakuma tagged for 3 HRs in loss to Tigers

DETROIT -- Steven Moya hit two of three Tigers solo homers off Hisashi Iwakuma, and Jose Iglesias hit a two-run double, sending Detroit to its third straight win with a 5-1 victory over Seattle on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

On a night when neither Iwakuma nor Tigers rookie sensation Michael Fulmer got through the fifth inning, the Tigers churned out enough runs early and withstood the Mariners' best threat. Miguel Cabrera turned on a hanging curveball and lofted it out to left for his 424th career homer in the opening inning, then Iglesias completed a two-out rally in the second with a drive off the left-field fence to score Moya and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Mariners on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners aim to turn tide back in their favor

Seattle was in first place during late May, but June has been a different story

Mariners aim to turn tide back in their favor

DETROIT -- The Mariners' 5-1 loss at Comerica Park on Wednesday dropped them to .500 on the season and 2-7 on their 10-game road trip.

Seattle showed signs of life on offense in the first two games of the series, pounding out 27 hits and scoring nine runs, but on a night that starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma didn't bring his best stuff to the table, those bats were ice cold: The Mariners managed just one run on three hits.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

#TBT: King Felix's grand slam off Santana

8 years later, Mariners pitcher remembers homer vs. countryman

#TBT: King Felix's grand slam off Santana

SEATTLE -- Of all the magical moments of Felix Hernandez's career -- the perfect game, the American League Cy Young Award, the six All-Star berths, the countless King's Courts and double-digit strikeout games -- the King loves to recount another highlight that isn't listed among his pile of pitching performances.

If you want Hernandez to smile, bring up "The Slam." It was eight years ago on this date -- June 23, 2008 -- when Hernandez strode to the plate with the bases loaded at Shea Stadium and launched an opposite-field grand slam off the Mets' Johan Santana, becoming the first AL pitcher to achieve that feat in 37 years.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners acquire lefty LeBlanc from Blue Jays

Mariners acquire lefty LeBlanc from Blue Jays

SEATTLE -- Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto made a move to bolster his injury-plagued rotation Wednesday, acquiring veteran left-hander Wade LeBlanc from the Blue Jays for a player to be named or cash.

LeBlanc, 31, was 7-2 with a 1.71 ERA in 14 starts for Triple-A Buffalo this season and pitched in Japan last year. He's expected to join the Mariners and be in line to start Friday's series opener against the Cardinals at Safeco Field in place of Taijuan Walker, who is dealing with tendinitis in the arch of his right foot.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Griffey Jr. shows off his golf swing at PGA Pro-Am

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Griffey Jr. shows off his golf swing at PGA Pro-Am

Over his 22 years in the Major Leagues, we grew to love just about everything about Ken Griffey Jr.: the backward hat, the smile, the video game. Even his Hollywood heel turn was impossibly charming. But above all, we loved the swing. 

My word, that swing. It was, quite literally, a work of art -- it seemed to flow outside of normal time and space, untouched by the flaws of man. You would've sworn Griffey had been swinging that way since he was born.

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Mariners in rough patch, but bats coming around

Marte having strong series, while Seager has 2 HRs

Mariners in rough patch, but bats coming around

DETROIT -- The Mariners lost Tuesday's game to the Tigers, 4-2, but their bats are heating up, as they had eight hits, three for extra bases. That came on the heels of a seven-run, 19-hit, 12-inning loss Monday.

Shortstop Ketel Marte in particular is off to a hot start in the four-game series at Comerica Park. He went 3-for-4 with a double Tuesday and is 7-for-10 with three extra-base hits in the past two games.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seager goes deep, but Paxton, Mariners fall

Seager goes deep, but Paxton, Mariners fall

DETROIT -- One night after Justin Upton hit a walk-off homer, Mike Aviles hit a go-ahead eighth-inning single that traveled maybe 60 feet down the first-base line, scoring pinch-runner Andrew Romine from third base to send the Tigers to a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.

Detroit starter Justin Verlander gave up two runs over seven innings and received a no-decision, while Seattle starter James Paxton gave up four runs over 7 2/3 and took the loss. Kyle Seager's two-run home run in the sixth earned Seattle the lead before Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler hit two-out RBI singles in the sixth and seventh to tie it at 2.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. He covered the Mariners on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seeking ASG start, Cano 2nd among AL 2B

Mariners star could use boost as he trails Astros' Altuve by more than 600,000 votes

Seeking ASG start, Cano 2nd among AL 2B

DETROIT -- Robinson Cano remains the Mariners' best shot at earning a starting spot in the All-Star Game.

With a week and a half of voting left, Cano is in second place among American League second basemen. He is in search of one final voting push as he trails the Astros' Jose Altuve by 602,085 votes.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Paxton sharp early, can't contain Tigers late

Mariners lefty takes shutout into 6th, allows 4 runs over 7 2/3

Paxton sharp early, can't contain Tigers late

DETROIT -- James Paxton entered Tuesday's start at Detroit having only pitched into the seventh inning once. But he went 7 2/3 innings at Comerica Park, allowing four runs on 11 hits in the Mariners' 4-2 loss against the Tigers.

Manager Scott Servais had nothing but praise for Paxton, calling it his best start of the season.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

California, Carolina Leagues hold HR Derby on aircraft carrier

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California, Carolina Leagues hold HR Derby on aircraft carrier

Launching a home run in a baseball stadium is possibly the most face-meltingly awesome thing a human being can do. 

… Except for launching dingers from an aircraft carrier -- that 970-foot, 64,000-ton chunk of floating fury that transports fighter jets all around the world. 

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Benoit happy to be back in Detroit with Mariners

Club: Walker's right foot has no structural damage, but Friday start uncertain

Benoit happy to be back in Detroit with Mariners

DETROIT -- Joaquin Benoit pitched at Comerica Park for the first time on Monday since he used to don the Old English D back in 2013. This time, sporting a Mariners jersey, Benoit threw two scoreless innings in relief in an 8-7 loss to the Tigers in 12 innings.

Those two innings came in the form of high-pressure situations in the eighth and ninth to help the Mariners push the game to extras.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners on losing end of wild one in extras

Mariners on losing end of wild one in extras

DETROIT -- Justin Upton's second home run Monday night, a leadoff drive in the 12th, provided the deciding drive in a back-and-forth battle, ending the Tigers' three-game losing streak with an 8-7 win over the Mariners at Comerica Park.

Seattle and Detroit traded leads seven times, three of them on two-run home runs. Adam Lind's line drive over the right-field fence, one of 12 Seattle hits in five innings off Tigers starter Mike Pelfrey, gave the Mariners a lead they carried into the late innings before Upton struck with his third home run in four days and his seventh of the season.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. He covered the Mariners on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Karns can't hold lead or climb out of funk

Mariners have dropped right-hander's past four starts

Karns can't hold lead or climb out of funk

DETROIT -- Right-hander Nathan Karns' recent struggles continued Monday, raising his ERA to 7.36 over his past four starts as the Mariners lost, 8-7, against the Tigers.

Karns allowed five earned runs on seven hits over five innings as the Tigers ran his pitch count to 100. Seattle has lost his past four starts.

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Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Scout who helped sign Griffey passes away

Harrison worked in Mariners organization since club's inception in 1977

Bob Harrison, a veteran scout who was instrumental in the Mariners' selection of Ken Griffey Jr. as the first player taken in the 1987 Draft and then promotion to the big leagues at the age of 19 after only 129 games in the Minor Leagues, passed away Monday morning. The cause of death is not yet known.

Services will take place July 2 at Luyben Dilday Mortuary in Long Beach, Calif., Harrison's hometown.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gutierrez's homer isn't enough against Sox

Gutierrez's homer isn't enough against Sox

BOSTON -- David Price threw eight innings of one-run ball to snap his three-game losing streak and Mookie Betts belted a go-ahead home run in the seventh as the Red Sox earned a 2-1 win over the Mariners in Sunday's rubber game at Fenway Park.

Price allowed just a solo homer to Franklin Gutierrez in the fourth as he improved to 8-4 with a 4.24 ERA. He gave up eight hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. The Red Sox had scored just five runs in Price's three previous outings and the American League's highest-scoring offense struggled again until Betts blasted his 15th homer off rookie reliever Edwin Diaz to cap a three-hit day.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Red Sox on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners acquire RHP Lee in deal with Dodgers

Former first-round Draft pick traded for Seattle shortstop Taylor

Mariners acquire RHP Lee in deal with Dodgers

BOSTON -- Looking to add some pitching depth to their organization, the Mariners acquired right-handed starter Zach Lee from the Dodgers on Sunday night in exchange for shortstop Chris Taylor.

General manager Jerry Dipoto said Lee will be assigned to Triple-A Tacoma, where the Mariners hope he might blossom in a new environment.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.