Snell heads for Mariners' bullpen

Snell heads for Mariners' bullpen

SEATTLE -- As expected, right-hander Ian Snell was moved to the bullpen as part of the series of moves resulting from the activation of starter Cliff Lee from the 15-day disabled list.

And as manager Don Wakamatsu explained, it was more about how well Jason Vargas (2-1, 3.60 ERA) and Doug Fister (2-1, 1.67) have pitched than how inconsistent Snell might have been.

Snell's last start, a 5 1/3-inning, two-earned-run effort in Kansas City on Tuesday, was one of his better starts in what, so far, has been an up-and-down beginning to the season. Snell is 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA and 11 walks and 12 strikeouts in 19 innings.

"You go into Kansas City to try to figure out the move, and to me, Ian showed the best stuff that he's had all year," Wakamatsu said. "He's progressing that way, and a lot of players look at everything as final, but we're not looking at it as final.

"We have to make some adjustments as we go, and we called him in today and told him he was in the bullpen, and he was fine. Again, throwing 94, 95 mph, throwing a hard slider and competing, it was everything we asked him to do last start, but there's some guys in the rotation right now that are pitching well, and we feel deserve to be in it."

Wakamatsu said the club will see how Snell fares in his first outing, but would like to keep the right-hander "extended as much as we can." Then again, if the Seattle starters continue to shine and a long reliever isn't needed, the skipper said he could see a scenario in which Snell would go "from a long [reliever] to an eighth-inning guy."