Ramirez ready to seize starting opportunity

Ramirez ready to seize starting opportunity

Ramirez ready to seize starting opportunity
SEATTLE -- Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez is back in the Major Leagues, and the 22-year-old couldn't be happier.

After starting the season in the Mariners' bullpen, the team sent the rookie to Triple-A Tacoma on May 5 to increase his arm strength with the idea that he would rejoin the club as a starter. Amid a flurry of other moves, the Mariners recalled Ramirez on Wednesday to take the rotation spot vacated by Blake Beavan, who was optioned to Tacoma.

Ramirez is scheduled to start Thursday in the Mariners' series finale against the Padres.

"It's something I want to do," he said. "I'm excited because they gave me a chance as a reliever and I did the best I can. ... And now they call me a starter, and I'm happy because most of my professional career has been starter. All my career I've been starter, and now I've got the chance to start the game."

Ramirez went 3-2 with a 3.11 ERA in seven starts with Tacoma, striking out 29 and walking seven. In his last start, he carried a no-hitter through 7 2/3 and ended up allowing two runs on two hits in eight innings.

The adjustment for Ramirez was tough at first, he said. Not only did he have to reinstate a windup, but he also worked on the timing and release point of his breaking balls. In addition, his mindset had to change from hitter to hitter to thinking about pitching deep into games.

"When you're [a starter] it's like, 'All right, you go to the seventh, you go to the eighth, maybe a chance you go to the ninth,' in case you don't have a lot of pitches in an inning," Ramirez said. "Most of the time I was working on that. Even if I get tired in the seventh, keep my arm up."

In 11 relief appearances this season with the Mariners, Ramirez allowed three runs on nine hits, walked four and struck out five.