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Demoted Mariners closer Tom Wilhelmsen is starting at Triple-A

Aug 6, 2013, 1:48 PM EST

Tom Wilhelmsen AP

Last night the Mariners demoted closer Tom Wilhelmsen to the minors and today he’s starting a game at Triple-A.

Nothing official has been announced regarding a role change, but Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes that the Mariners “will start building Wilhelmsen’s arm up” and see how he looks.

Not only was the demotion a surprise–he has 24 saves and Thursday’s ugly appearance snapped a streak of five straight scoreless outings–Wilhelmsen has never started a game in the majors at age 29 and was never great as a starter in the minors. He last started regularly at Double-A in 2011, posting a 5.49 ERA in 61 innings.

  1. js20011041 - Aug 6, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I can’t imagine this turns out well. Relieving is monumentally easier than starting. To see this, one only needs to look at some of the failed starters who have become good relievers. Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow, Brian Matusz. Wade Davis is a perfect example. Not good as a starter with the Rays. Became a reliever, had a great year. This year back as a starter and sucks again. If a pitcher can’t hack it one inning at a time, he’s probably not going to be of much use starting.

    • flamethrower101 - Aug 6, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      The Wade Davis fiasco belongs sourly to the Royals. They saw that Davis had done decently as a reliever yet for some reason chose to use him as a starter, perhaps to somehow use that as justification for the Wil Myers trade. Instead, it justified that Tampa Bay runs their organization so much better than we give them credit for, while the Royals continue to be inconsistent

      (And yes I am aware that this comment comes in a time where the Royals are playing well. Still doesn’t change my point)

  2. edelmanfanclub - Aug 6, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    He should just work it out in middle relief. As a Red Sox fan, I have seen this first hand (Daniel Bard). It usually doesn’t go well. But it depends on the pitcher, the quality (and quantity) of their pitches, and their stamina. I remember Braden Looper a couple years back turned into decent starter after being close to the end as a reliever. But then again he had Dave Duncan as a pitching coach. Duncan could probably turn me in Cy Young winner.

  3. fearthehoody - Aug 6, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Bye-Bye Bar man, thanks for the great half year!

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