Seattle's 'pen buoyed by Kelley's return

Seattle's 'pen buoyed by Kelley's return

BOSTON -- The Mariners' reliable bullpen got another important piece back on Friday night, when right-hander Shawn Kelley was activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Kelley had been on the DL since May 6 with a strained oblique muscle in his left side.

"I'm ready, feel good and it's good to be back," Kelley said on Friday afternoon in the cramped visitors' clubhouse at Fenway Park. "I'm here to help in any way I can."

Seattle decided to go with 12 pitchers, sending first baseman Mike Carp back to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. The rookie appeared in five games, going 3-for-8 with one RBI, and has had just one plate appearance since June 23.

At the time of his injury, suffered on his third pitch in a game against the Rangers on May 5, Kelley had worked himself into late-inning duty with a string of solid outings. He compiled a 1.54 ERA in his first 10 appearances and was pitching in the seventh and eighth innings.

Kelley will be more of a middle-of-the-game pitcher for the time being.

"I don't want to put him in the [seventh and eighth innings] right now," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "The big thing for us is to get Sean White back in there pitching the seventh or eighth inning. With Kelley, I would like to get him an inning here and there to build him back into it."

The major benefit of having Kelley back is it adds to the bullpen depth so Wakamatsu doesn't have to overuse any of his relievers. Several of them, including Miguel Batista, Mark Lowe and closer David Aarsdma, have been a dependable group for the Mariners.

Kelley prepared for his comeback with stints in Arizona and at Triple-A Tacoma, where he pitched three scoreless innings in his only rehab outing with the Pacific Coast League team.

He allowed no hits or runs during his rehab assignment.

Carp began the season with Tacoma and hit .299 (63-for-211) with 16 doubles, 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 59 games. He has played mostly first base this season, but he has appeared in five games in left field, as well as serving as a designated hitter, and Wakamatsu said the 23-year-old would play some left field for Tacoma.

But basically, Carp needs some action.

"It reached a point where we had to send him down there playing again," Wakamatsu said. "He did a phenomenal job when he was here. He wasn't intimidated by anything. He gave us good at-bats. I talked to him late [Thursday night] and told him he got an opportunity to see what it's like, what a wonderful experience [playing in the Major Leagues] is."

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.