By Brent Stecker
The Mariners have optioned starting pitcher Taijuan Walker to Triple-A Tacoma after just major-league two starts this season and recalled right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor from the Rainiers.
Though it is a demotion on paper for the 21-year-old Walker, the motivation behind the move could be that the Mariners want Walker to pitch on normal rest through next week's All-Star break, which he would able to do with Tacoma.
Walker was sidelined by injury for the early part of the season and was not activated from the disabled list until June 10.
According to a press release from the Mariners, who have not announced their starting pitcher for Thursday's series finale vs. the Twins, manager Lloyd McClendon will detail the team's updated pitching plans for the rest of the week at his 3:15 p.m. media session today at Safeco Field.
Walker is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and nine strikeouts in two starts and 10 innings pitched for Seattle this season.
Pryor is making his first return to the Mariners since undergoing surgery for a right latissimus dorsi injury suffered in early 2013. He had a a 2.97 ERA in 30 1/3 innings for Seattle in 2012 and 2013 combined. The hard-throwing reliever is 2-1 with a save and 4.91 ERA in 21 appearances for the Rainiers in 2014.