Mariners activate Overton from paternity list

Mariners activate Overton from paternity list

HOUSTON -- Rookie left-hander Dillon Overton joined the Mariners on Thursday with a fresh arm and a big smile after being with his wife Tuesday for the birth of their first child in Ennis, Texas.

"A roller coaster of emotions," Overton said as he was activated off the paternity list after missing Seattle's first three games. "Really good emotions, don't get me wrong. It's been the best week of my life and it will never be topped. You can't beat it. Having a child and being on the Opening Day roster within a four-day span? It's unbelievable."

As was planned from the start, right-hander Chase De Jong was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after filling Overton's spot. De Jong took the loss in Wednesday's 5-3, 13-inning setback to the Astros in his Major League debut.

Overton played catch in the hospital parking lot with his brother-in-law and father-in-law and also threw to a high school catcher in a bullpen session one day, so he said he's ready to step immediately into action.

The 25-year-old was a longshot to make the Mariners, but pitched well this spring and earned a spot when Seattle opened the year with an eight-man bullpen.

The fact that timing coincided with the arrival of his son, Oliver Ray Overton, complicated things a bit. But being there with his wife, Morgan, for the birth made everything worthwhile.

"It was awesome," he said. "I got to spend some quality time. We had a lot of family coming in and out, but once everybody left, my wife made sure I was holding him and taking care of him because she knew I was leaving and that was a big deal. It sucks having to leave him and her so soon, but this is my job and she understands."

Manager Scott Servais had a long talk with De Jong after the 23-year-old was optioned back to Tacoma following Wednesday's loss. He had two on and two out when George Springer lofted a high fly that landed in the first row of the Crawford Boxes for a walkoff homer.

"I told him it doesn't get much tougher, putting you in for your Major League debut like that," Servais said. "There's moments, every player has them, good and bad that can be defining in your career. You just don't want to get caught up in something like that.

"But he's really level-headed. He said, 'No, I've got it.' We talked about getting him back in a normal schedule. He's never pitched out of the bullpen before, so we were asking a lot out of him. That wasn't the original thought. It was more if we had an injury or bad game early from a starter. But that wasn't the case. He was very close to getting it done, it just didn't happen for him."

De Jong, acquired from the Dodgers on March 1, will step into the starting rotation in Tacoma. He is the club's 15th-ranked prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, while Overton is No. 20.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.