Elias earns job in rotation before making start

Elias earns job in rotation before making start

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Roenis Elias, a 25-year-old Cuban defector who has never pitched above Double-A ball, had an eventful day Friday as he learned he'd made the Mariners starting rotation in the afternoon, and then went out and gave up two runs over five innings in Seattle's 3-2 victory over the Rockies.

Elias weaved in and out of trouble in his 79-pitch outing, allowing seven hits -- including two triples and a double -- along with two walks, but limited the damage to a pair of runs.

"He did OK. He got a couple balls up and was a little erratic in the one inning," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "I thought he was a little bit charged-up today. To be honest, I thought it was going to be a disastrous outing for him. That's usually how it works when you tell a young man he's made the club and he's starting. Couple that with being on TV, that was a recipe for disaster. But he came through it pretty good."

Escaping from jams is becoming something of a habit for Elias, who stranded runners in scoring position twice with no outs in his previous outing, as well.

"If you look at the history of this young man, he has a tendency to walk guys and then strike people out and get them out," McClendon said. "He doesn't give up runs. He's a little quirky and we're going to have to shore that up a little. I don't want to start smoking."

Elias said he didn't pitch as well as he wanted in his final Cactus League outing, but was thrilled at learning he'd made the team and is slated to pitch the fourth game of the season Thursday in Oakland.

"I was lifting weights when they called me in," Elias said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "Once they told me that, I didn't do any more weights. I just called my mom, my dad, my wife, my son, everybody in the world.

"I'm very happy the team has given me this opportunity. Every time I go out there, I'm going to give it all I can with my heart to help the team win."

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.