Mariners add Altavilla, Lee & Venditte to Major League roster

Wilhelmsen placed on 15-day DL, Aoki & Freeman optioned to AAA Tacoma

Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today the following roster moves.

  • Dan Altavilla, RHP, selected from AA Jackson
  • Dae-Ho Lee, INF, recalled from AAA Tacoma
  • Pat Venditte, SHP, recalled from AAA Tacoma
  • Tom Wilhelmsen, RHP, placed on 15-day DL (retro to 8/26) with low back spasms
  • Norichika Aoki, OF, optioned to AAA Tacoma (post-game 8/26)
  • Mike Freeman, INF, optioned to AAA Tacoma (post-game 8/26)

Altavilla (#53), Lee (#10) and Venditte (#61) will be in uniform and available for tonight's (4:10 pm PT) game at Chicago-AL.

Altavilla, 23 (turns 24 on Sept. 8) will be making his Major League debut in his first appearance. Altavilla was 7-3 with 16 saves with a 1.91 ERA (12 ER, 56.2 IP) in 43 relief appearances with AA Jackson this season. Among Southern League leaders, Alvatilla ranks T4th with 16 saves. Altavilla's 16 saves are 2nd-most in the Mariners minor league system this season. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound right-hander struck out 65 while walking 22.

Altavilla has held opposing batters to a .196 (40x204) average against this season, including limiting left-handed batters to a .155 (16x103) average against. Lefties have managed just 3 extra-base hits in 103 at-bats against Altavilla this season. Altavilla has posted 10.32 strikeouts/9.0 innings pitched this season (65 K, 56.2 IP). Over his last 21 outings since June 25, Altavilla is 3-2 and has successfully converted 8 of 10 save opportunities while posting a 1.55 ERA (5 ER, 29.0 IP). During that same time frame, Altavilla has recorded 35 strikeouts and 9 walks.

Altavilla is a native of McKeesport, Pennsylvania and attended Mercyhurst College (PA) from 2011-2014. Altavilla was selected by Seattle in the 5th round of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player Draft after earning the inaugural Brett Tomko Award, given to the Most Outstanding Pitcher in NCAA Division II baseball. 

Lee, 34, hit .519 (14x27) with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 RBI in 7 games with AAA Tacoma after being optioned on Aug. 19. With Seattle, he hit .246 (57x232) with 26 runs, 6 doubles, 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 84 games this season. Prior to the All-Star Break, Lee hit .288 (51x177) with 22 runs, 4 doubles, 12 home runs and 37 RBI in 64 games. Since the break, Lee was 6-for-his-last-55 (.109) with 4 runs, 2 doubles, 1 home run and 4 RBI in 20 games. Lee made his Major League debut as a pinch-hitter on April 4 at Texas. Lee was originally signed by the Mariners as a minor league free agent on Feb. 3, 2016. Lee spent the previous 4 seasons playing in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes (2012-13) and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (2014-15) after playing 11 seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization with Lotte (2001-11).

Venditte, 31, was acquired from Toronto on Aug. 6 and reported to AAA Tacoma where he was 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA (1 ER, 8.1 IP) with 11 strikeouts in 5 relief appearances. He posted a 5.19 ERA (5 ER, 8.2 IP) with 7 strikeouts and 4 walks in 8 relief appearances with Toronto this season. In 25 games, including 2 starts, with AAA Buffalo this season, Venditte was 2-1 with a 4.37 ERA (17 ER, 35.0 IP) with 52 strikeouts and 13 walks. Venditte is the first known full-time ambidextrous pitcher in Major League history. In parts of two Major League seasons with Oakland (2015) and Toronto (2016), Venditte is 2-2 with a 4.58 ERA (19 ER, 37.1 IP) with 30 strikeouts and 16 walks in 34 career games. Over 9 minor league season with the Yankees, Athletics, Blue Jays and Mariners organizations, Venditte compiled a career record of 21-23 with a 2.51 ERA (132 ER, 464.1 IP) with 539 strikeouts and 134 walks. He was originally selected in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft by New York - AL out of Creighton University.

Wilhelmsen, 32, was 0-1 with 1 save and a 3.20 ERA (7 ER, 19.2 IP) with 15 strikeouts in 22 relief appearances with Seattle this season. He was 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA (1 ER, 3.0 IP) with 2 strikeouts in 2 relief appearances with AAA Tacoma. Wilhelmsen was signed to a Major League contract and added to the Mariners 25-man roster on June 22. He made one appearance with Seattle, tossing 1.0 scoreless inning while allowing 1 hit on June 23 at Detroit, before being optioned to Tacoma on June 24. In parts of 6 Major League season with Seattle and Texas, Wilhelmsen is 13-14 with 68 saves with a 3.44 ERA (135 ER, 353.1 IP) with 320 strikeouts in 310 career games (2 career starts).

Aoki, 34, hit .316 (31x98) with 11 runs, 9 doubles, 1 triple, 5 RBI and a .362 on-base percentage in 31 games since being recalled on July 20. He hit .369 (24x65) with 13 runs, 4 doubles, 4 RBI, 8 walks and 3 stolen bases in 16 previous games with AAA Tacoma. Aoki hit safely in 11 of 16 games with Tacoma, including recording 8 multi-hit contests. Before being optioned to Tacoma on June 24, Aoki hit .245 (61x249) with 36 runs, 8 doubles, 3 triples, 1 home run, 11 RBI, 22 walks and 4 stolen bases in 67 games with Seattle.

Freeman, 29, was recalled from AAA Tacoma on Thursday (Aug. 25), but did not appear in a game with Seattle. Freeman was batting .290 (20x69) with 10 runs, 4 doubles, 1 home run, 7 RBI and 7 walks in 17 games with AAA Tacoma prior to his recall. In one prior stint with Seattle this season, Freeman hit .333 (2x6) with 1 RBI in 2 games. He made his Mariners debut on Aug. 7 vs. Los Angeles - AL and collected his first Major League hit and first RBI, going 2-for-3 with 1 RBI. He was claimed off waivers from Arizona on Aug. 1. Prior to his acquisition, he hit .317 (108x341) with 56 runs, 17 doubles, 6 triples, 1 home run, 24 RBI, 38 walks, 11 stolen bases, a .387 on-base percentage and a .411 slugging percentage in 88 games with AAA Reno this season. In parts of 7 minor league seasons with Arizona and Seattle, he is a career .290 (773x2669) hitter with 131 doubles, 29 triples, 16 home runs and 262 RBI in 733 career games.