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Loe getting used to long relief role

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OAKLAND -- Kameron Loe was a starting pitcher early in his career with the Rangers, but the big right-hander has been strictly a workhorse setup man the past three seasons with the Brewers. So it was a bit of a different role Wednesday when he was used for three innings of long relief in his Mariners debut.

Loe, 31, never pitched more than 2 1/3 innings in 195 appearances with the Brewers, hitting that mark once late in the season in 2011 and once in his second game with Milwaukee in 2010.

But he went three full frames in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, holding the A's scoreless before giving up two solo homers leading off his last inning.

The 6-foot-8 California native refused to blame the back-to-back bombs by Jed Lowrie and Chris Young on the longer stint, however.

"I felt good the first two innings," said Loe. "Then I threw a changeup that might not have had enough speed for the first one and hung a curveball to Young. Other than that, I felt pretty dang good."

Loe started 38 games for Texas in 2006-07 and has said he'd love to get another shot in a rotation someday, so he's certainly a reasonable candidate if the Mariners need a long man out of the bullpen. Hisashi Iwakuma was the long guy for the initial months last season, but rarely was used in that situation and they don't have anyone specifically defined for that role this year.

Consider Loe the logical candidate, though left-hander Charlie Furbush could also go longer and the rest of the relievers are capable of two innings if needed. With Loe unavailable Thursday, the Mariners will piece things together if rookie starter Brandon Maurer gets in trouble.

"I think that's pretty much the modern-day version of long relief, three innings, quite frankly," manager Eric Wedge said. "That's kind of the way it works out. If we get in trouble today, we'll just have to use more people."

As for Loe?

"The way he worked through those first two innings, he was in good shape going out for the third," Wedge said. "He just left a couple pitches up. But that's something he's going to need to do for us, and I thought he threw the ball well. Then we wanted to get Furbush out there and get him back on track a little bit. Obviously, he was erratic, but I thought he reeled it in there at the end, which is important."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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