SEATTLE -- Tom Wilhelmsen has struggled a bit lately in the closer role, and it came to a head with a blown save Aug. 24 in Chicago. The first-year closer has polished off two games successfully since then, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge wanted to pitch Wilhelmsen in a non-save situation to alleviate some pressure.That opportunity arose on Saturday, when he allowed a walk to Torii Hunter, who eventually reached third base, but Wilhelmsen escaped the inning without allowing a run. "It was better, I thought," Wedge said. "I felt like he was more aggressive. I felt like he was closer to what we've seen when he's been at his best. He wasn't quite at his best, but it was definitely better. So it was good, some good indicators there." Wilhelmsen is 21-for-24 in save opportunities, but Wedge said it's almost inevitable for a closer to not experience a rough game. It's essential, though, for a pitcher to immediately start working back from that. On Saturday, the second-year Mariners manager saw some good indicators that the right-hander was making physical adjustments. Wilhelmsen, on the other hand, was glad he made an appearance in a non-save situation because it eliminated the stress. Considering he doesn't believe the problem is fully physical, it was a good step. "I'm willing to bet that the majority of it would be mental," he said. "That's, I guess, another reason why it was good I went in yesterday."
Erasmo ready to fill any role with Mariners
SEATTLE -- Erasmo Ramirez has pitched out of the bullpen for the Mariners. He's also started games and spent almost a month with Triple-A Tacoma, even after being reinstated from the disabled list following an elbow injury. Now he's back with Seattle, and willing to do whatever the club asks of him.The 22-year-old right-hander was recalled from Tacoma -- where he had been a starter -- on Saturday when rosters expanded and is currently pitching out of the bullpen. Manager Eric Wedge hasn't ruled out the possibility that Ramirez could return to a starter's role. "I just got here yesterday and they said, 'You go to the bullpen,'" Ramirez said. "I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to stay a reliever right now for the month or start sometimes." Ramirez is just happy to be back with the big league club, where he is 0-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 11 games. He started four games for the Mariners after he was sent to Tacoma to stretch out, including a tough-luck 1-0 loss to Oakland, when he threw eight innings and struck out a career-high 10. "I'm just happy to come back. Whatever they decide to do, whatever job, I'll take it," Ramirez said. "No matter if you're a starter or reliever. ... Be sure to throw strikes. That's my plan, just continue working hard and be sure to throw strikes."
Wedge impressed with well-rounded Robinson
SEATTLE -- Trayvon Robinson has had two stints with the Mariners over the past two years, not including the time he spent with the big league club during Spring Training, but manager Eric Wedge believes the outfielder is as impressive now as he's ever seen him."I tell you, this guy did a great job going to Triple-A and working, because he came back a better baseball player," Wedge said on Sunday. "He's seeing pitches better at home plate, his swing is more together, he's not as long, he's shorter, seeing the baseball better, he's more confident on the basepaths, I like his athleticism. "He's more of a raw type of athlete in regard to baseball. I thought he was a little shaky in the outfield when he got here. He's really worked hard to be better out there." Robinson has made several jaw-dropping catches in left field, including one in which he went over the wall to bring back a foul ball. His impact at the plate has been noticeable, as well. Hitting .245 overall, Robinson entered Sunday with five hits in his last 18 at-bats with a home run.
Michael Saunders had been the Mariners' regular center fielder, but Franklin Gutierrez has taken over that role since he was reinstated from the disabled list on Aug. 27. Wedge said Saunders is comfortable in any outfield position, and when he returns from a groin injury, he could spend time in both left and right. Gutierrez is currently working on an American League record among outfielders with 829 consecutive chances without an error. The Major League record is 938 straight by outfielder Darren Lewis (1990-93, A's and Giants).
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.