Medina enjoys first Major League save

Medina enjoys first Major League save

Medina enjoys first Major League save

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Yoervis Medina, a converted starter in his first season in the Majors, became the youngest Mariners pitcher to record his first career save since Brandon Morrow in 2008 when he slammed the door in the 10th inning of Seattle's 3-2 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night.

Medina, 24, only began working as a reliever last year after coming up as a starter after signing as a free agent out of Venezuela at 17. Morrow was 23 when he saved his first game against the Blue Jays on June 11, 2008.

"I'm very excited," Medina said after getting the obligatory beer shower from teammates in the clubhouse on Tuesday night. "I was a little bit nervous in the bullpen. I was like, 'OK, take your time, relax and throw strikes.'"

Medina mowed down 3-4-5 hitters Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick in his first save situation since manager Eric Wedge decided to go with a closer-by-committee effort until Tom Wilhelmsen gets his feet back under him after some recent struggles.

Since being called up on April 16 to replace injured setup man Stephen Pryor, Medina has posted a 3.04 ERA and held opponents to a .188 batting average in 23 2/3 innings over 23 appearances going into Wednesday's game. Pretty good stuff for a guy who was 1-13 with a 6.50 ERA as a starter for Class A High Desert in 2011 before working 46 games out of the bullpen with a 3.25 ERA for Double-A Jackson last year.

"I like relieving because my arm is very good," Medina said. "I can pitch today, and pitch tomorrow and two more times. My arm is good for being a reliever."

Meanwhile, Wedge used Wilhelmsen for 1 2/3 innings in Wednesday's victory. He was credited with his fifth blown save in his past 10 save opportunities after giving up a leadoff home run to Pujols that tied the game at 2 in the eighth, but recorded five outs before giving way to Charlie Furbush with two on and two out in the ninth.

"That was probably the best curve I've thrown all year," Wilhelmsen said after mixing in numerous offspeed pitches with his 97-mph heater. "I'm trying to work on it, staying over the rubber a little bit and get it out front a little bit. Just throwing the heck out of it, trying to throw all the [bad] ones out, maybe I'll leave them just anywhere else but on the field."

Wedge said Wilhelmsen will continue to be used in different roles for now, as a setup man, but that he remains an integral part of the bullpen.

"Tommy has had his struggles, but we have to get him back on track and get him back in that closer's role," Wedge said. "I thought last night helped him take a step in the right direction."

Greg Johns is a reporter for 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.