Mariners, Mets to meet after adding new pieces (Jul 29, 2017)

BY AP • July 29, 2017

SEATTLE -- It's not too often that two teams battling for the same playoff berth make a trade.

But Seattle Mariners executive vice president and general manager Jerry Dipoto did Friday, acquiring right-hander Erasmo Ramirez from the Tampa Bay Rays for right-hander reliever Steve Cishek before the opener of a weekend series against the New York Mets.

"Erasmo brings us a good combination of experience, versatility and control as we look to both be better in 2017, and in future seasons," Dipoto said in a news release. "We've added depth to our pitching staff in a variety of ways and maintained flexibility as we move forward with a player that is under club control for 2017, 2018 and 2019."

Seattle manager Scott Servais said Ramirez is scheduled to start Tuesday in Texas after the Mariners sent down rookie right-hander Andrew Moore, one of their top prospects, after he went 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA in six starts.

"We need to get Moore back on track," said Servais, citing Moore's command. "His first couple of outings were really good. He came up against Detroit and threw 18 of 18 first-pitch strikes or something like that. When he's trying to come back from down 2-0, 2-1 (in the count) he struggled."

And with the Mariners still chasing an American League wild-card playoff spot (they're 4 1/2 games out, two behind Tampa Bay), they opted for a veteran arm.

Servais was asked what he liked about Ramirez (4-3, 4.80 ERA), who began his career with the Mariners before being traded away at the end of spring training in 2015 by the previous regime.

"His versatility. He can start or pitch multiple innings in the bullpen," Servais said. "He should fit in very well."

In addition to sending down Moore on Friday, the Mariners recalled right-handers Casey Lawrence and Cody Martin to bolster the bullpen.

With the Mariners' acquisition of David Phelps from Miami last week, Cishek became expendable. He was 1-1 with one save and a 3.15 ERA.

"Steve did a great job for us," Servais said. "We really didn't have a closer when we signed him for that job, then he got the hip injury and Eddie Diaz emerged."

The Mariners aren't the only team the Rays have dealt with recently. They acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets on Thursday for minor league right-hander Drew Smith.

The Mets made another trade during Friday night's game, acquiring right-hander A.J. Ramos, who has 20 saves this season for Miami, for minor leaguers Merandy Gonzalez and outfielder Ricardo Cespedes.

On Saturday, the Mets are scheduled to start right-hander Jacob deGrom (12-3, 3.30), who has pitched at least eight innings in five of his past eight starts, allowing one earned run or fewer in six of those. DeGrom has faced the Mariners once before, on July 22, 2014, when he allowed one run in seven innings in a 3-1 victory.

DeGrom has been the only member of the Mets' season-opening rotation to stay healthy.

"He's not only been steady, he's been outstanding," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "When times are tough, he's stepped up.

"With all the things that have happened to our rotation, he's been our mainstay. He's probably throwing the ball as well right now than at any time in his career."

The Mariners are set to counter with veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo (4-7, 5.58). He returned to the rotation last weekend against the New York Yankees, allowing three runs -- all solo homers -- and five hits in five innings without getting a decision. In 10 career starts against the Mets, Gallardo is 4-3 with a 3.19 ERA.

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