Mariners gain flexibility with six-man rotation

Mariners gain flexibility with six-man rotation

KANSAS CITY -- With an eye toward reducing the wear-and-tear on some of the established starters and getting a look at promising prospects, the Mariners have decided to come down the stretch in September with a six-man rotation.

Erasmo Ramirez got the start on Tuesday, while Taijuan Walker and Joe Saunders will work in the final two games of the Kansas City series. Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to open the homestand on Friday against Tampa Bay, followed by James Paxton in his Major League debut on Saturday and ace Felix Hernandez on Sunday.

"It allows us to have some options and flexibility, which is a good thing this time of year," manager Eric Wedge said.

Through Tuesday, Hernandez has worked 194 1/3 innings, Iwakuma had 191 innings and Saunders was at 162 2/3 innings. Wedge said the innings load will take care of itself with the six-man rotation.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.