SEATTLE -- After picking up his ninth win of the season with a 13-3 victory over the White Sox, rookie southpaw Roenis Elias, 25, was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.
Manager Lloyd McClendon said that Elias will be given a short break, probably making one start of four or five innings, then return to the team in 11 days when the club is in Philadelphia for a series starting Aug. 18.
"He's done a nice job," McClendon said. "But we still have to watch his innings. We're going to option him to Triple-A so he can skip a turn here and back off a little bit. These are pressure innings for a young kid coming out of Double-A. He had 130 innings last year ... and he's at 135 now already."
Elias has made more starts (23) and thrown more innings (134 2/3) than any rookie in the Majors.
McClendon said that a corresponding roster move would be made on Friday, with the club likely to add a position player for the next two days before bringing up a pitcher to make a spot start on Sunday. Erasmo Ramirez was pulled after throwing two innings and allowing one run on one hit in Tacoma on Thursday in what presumably was a light throwing day before getting the Sunday promotion.
But McClendon said that Sunday's starter wouldn't be named until Saturday, which is likely when the position player will be sent back down.
McClendon said that Elias wouldn't be needed for now, since the club has an off-day next Thursday.
"We have days off, so it works out just fine," he said. "I don't really need a fifth starter right now."
Elias, who allowed just two hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings on Thursday, feels strong but understands the situation.
"The team is doing what is best for me," Elias said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "I've got a lot of innings so far, and they're trying to keep me healthy. So they're doing what is best for the team."
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.