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Jack Zduriencik discusses plans for Mariners pitchers

By Shannon Drayer

General manager Jack Zduriencik revealed on the Sunday "Mariners Magazine" Show that a couple of key young arms will continue to get work when the season ends.

"(Brandon) Maurer and Danny Hultzen are going to pitch in the Arizona Fall League," he told host Aaron Goldsmith, "so we are going to regain some innings with those guys in the rotation to get them prepared for spring training."

Zduriencik confirmed that he still views Maurer as a starter despite the fact that he is pitching out of the bullpen right now.

"We would like to keep Maurer as a starter, but he has got to perform up here," Zduriencik said.

Zduriencik also said he's hoping that Hultzen, who is currently throwing bullpens with the Rainiers, can get on the mound before the Triple-A season ends. Due to his shoulder injury, Hultzen has thrown just 33 2/3 innings this season.

Taijuan Walker, on the other hand, has thrown 136 1/3 innings (the Mariners count the inning he threw at the Futures Game). Goldsmith asked Zduriencik if Walker was up against his innings limit.

"He's getting close," Zduriencik answered. "We were gauging somewhere in the 160 range, give or take a little bit."

He won't reach 160 with the Rainers, as their season will end Sept. 2 if they do not make the playoffs. Could we see him make a start or two in Seattle? Zduriencik would not tip his hand on that subject.

"We'll see," he said. "Even if I knew I wouldn't tell you, only because any player, you don't want him to anticipate leaving where he is at and going somewhere else, and you don't want him to be disappointed if he is not called up. So there is that effect of it. What he needs to do is take care of business and pitch."

Walker starts Sunday for Tacoma.

Notes

• Catcher Mike Zunino, who has been catching bullpens the last few days, ran through a series of blocking and throwing drills Sunday. The hope is he will be sent out on a rehab assignment this week and rejoin the club Sept. 1.

• In his pregame meeting with the media, manager Eric Wedge said that he still views Brandon Maurer as a starter even though he is working out of the bullpen. One of the problems he needs to overcome, however, is giving up hits early in his appearances. As a starter, batters were hitting .449/.518/.630/.1.114 off Maurer.

"Even as a starter he had to fight through those first few innings and then figure it out," Wedge said. "Those are some of the things from a limitations standpoint that he has to get better with."

That is something he can work on out of the bullpen. In his six appearances as a reliever he has given up runs in his first inning pitched twice.

• Last note, just for fun: If you haven't seen this already I encourage you to read Scott Miller's interesting article on the Angels and why things have not worked out for them despite the dollars they have spent.

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