Cortes thrilled to be back in Mariners' bullpen

Cortes thrilled to be back in Mariners' bullpen

Cortes thrilled to be back in Mariners' bullpen
SEATTLE -- There was an interesting juxtaposition in the Mariners' clubhouse before Saturday's afternoon tilt against Tampa Bay.

Reliever David Pauley just learned that he had been traded to Detroit and had two big boxes for his belongings in front of his locker. At the locker next to Pauley's, there was another box, except this one wasn't for a player headed out of Seattle, but rather for one who just arrived.

Dan Cortes now occupies the locker next to what was Pauley's, having been called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday. To make room on the roster, Seattle optioned left-handed reliever Aaron Laffey down to Tacoma.

This marks Cortes' second stint with the Mariners this season, as the righty was with Seattle from April 25 to May 14, appearing in just one game. He is 1-2 with a 5.35 ERA this season with the Rainiers, and this month, he has given up six earned runs in 10 appearances.

"It's obviously a thrill to get called up again," Cortes said. "Especially with all the moves going down right now, it seems like they are really giving us an opportunity to be an impact on this team."

Manager Eric Wedge said he liked what he saw from Cortes earlier this season but didn't get many chances to see him pitch because Mariners starters were going deep into games.

"We feel like he's a big, strong guy that has a chance to be a back-end guy down the road," Wedge said. "He's one of the guys from the pitching side of things that we need to get up here and take a good look at."

Laffey is 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA this season, but he had been struggling as of late. In Friday's 8-0 loss to the Rays, Laffey gave up three earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings of work.

"Aaron really struggled today," Wedge said after Friday's loss "I mean, he just really didn't have anything going. His command wasn't quite as aggressive as it needs to be, and it just looked like he caught up in it a little bit."

Cortes said that he was struggling before the All-Star break and decided to go home and refresh his head a little bit during the break.

"I went back home to kind of cool off, see my family and get my mind off things," the 24-year-old said. "I came back and ever since then I have had a positive mindset, and things kind of followed after that."

Cortes said he thought he might get called up a little later in the year, so it was a nice surprise to know that he'd be coming up in the thick of the season.

Taylor Soper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.