Maurer adjusting to role as long man in bullpen

Maurer adjusting to role as long man in bullpen

Maurer adjusting to role as long man in bullpen

BOSTON -- Brandon Maurer has been a starter most of his career. But then again, his career hasn't been that long, so the 23-year-old is adjusting to his new role after being recalled by the Mariners last weekend.

The big right-hander made his first Major League relief appearance in Tuesday's 8-2 loss to the Red Sox, throwing 2 1/3 innings of perfect ball until Boston nicked him for two runs on a single and home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the eighth. Maurer finished up with just those two hits and two runs in three innings.

"That was big for Maurer, his first time coming out of the 'pen here in Boston of all places," said acting manager Robby Thompson. "I thought he threw the ball very well. I thought it was big for him and for us. It's not easy your first time coming out here in Boston, and I thought he did a great job."

Maurer replaced Hector Noesi as Seattle's long reliever on Saturday and has begun adjusting to a new routine.

"I'm just going to go out there and throw all my pitches and go right after hitters," said Maurer, who started 10 games for Seattle at the start of the season before being sent to Triple-A Tacoma. "I don't have to worry about the next at-bat, just go get 'em right out of the gate."

Maurer said the only time he's been a reliever was in 2010, when he was sidelined by elbow tendinitis during the season and then came back and pitched a couple of games out of the bullpen with Class A Clinton at the end of that season.

"So far, it's been all right," he said prior to Tuesday's relief debut. "We're just trying to keep it as basic as we can, just do the work when we can. And if we can't, we'll get it the next day. I'm just trying to stay fresh."

Thompson said one of the advantages of having the youngster working out of the bullpen is the ability to control his innings. Maurer threw 46 2/3 innings in 10 starts at Tacoma, putting him at 96 for the season combined with his Seattle outings.

He threw a career-high 137 2/3 innings last year for Double-A Jackson. But most important, Thompson said, is getting Maurer more experience at the Major League level.

"He's kind of our long guy right now, so talking with [pitching coach Carl Willis], we'll try to ease him back in," Thompson said. "He's been starting and we all feel it's probably going to be good for him to work out of the bullpen. There's been a lot of guys in the big leagues that have worked their way through the bullpen into a starting role. That's kind of the avenue we're taking right now."

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.