Wilhelmsen becoming bullpen's workhorse

Wilhelmsen becoming bullpen's workhorse

DETROIT -- Typically, a team's setup man isn't usually referred to as an "innings eater." However, with 12 innings pitched this season, right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen is earning that label.

Of American League relief pitchers who have made no starts this season, Wilhelmsen ranks second in the league with his 12 innings, just behind Yankees right-hander David Phelps, who has pitched 12 1/3 innings.

The 28-year-old has given the Mariners the quality arm they had hoped for in the back of the bullpen. He's been touched up only twice, for a total of three earned runs, this season.

Manager Eric Wedge talked about Wilhelmsen's growth after Tuesday's 7-4 win against the Tigers. Wilhelmsen allowed the first two runners to reach in a two-run game, before settling down and ending the threat on a flyout and two strikeouts.

"He's very mature," Wedge said. "He's been out in the real world and then back into baseball. He's a good worker. He has a lot of fire in his belly. He's suited to be pitching late in ball games, and he's done a nice job for us."