Rainiers Take Chance

Chance Ruffin returns to the Tacoma Rainiers today, starting tonight’s game against Reno.

Ruffin pitched out of the Rainiers bullpen throughout the 2012 season. He had a rough first three months, but turned things around in late June and pitched very well during the second half.

Things changed for Ruffin when he got to spring training this year. The Mariners asked him to move back into the starting rotation – something he had not done since his sophomore year of college at Texas. He welcomed the idea, agreeing to go to Double-A Jackson to make the transition.

Ruffin has made 16 starts for Jackson, going 4-4, 3.90. He’s worked 83 innings, allowing 82 hits (11 homers – we’ll need to keep an eye on this in the PCL) with 57 strikeouts and 23 walks.

Tonight he gets the ball for the Rainiers, filling the rotation spot of Taijuan Walker who is in New York City for the MLB All-Star Futures Game (11:00 AM Sunday on ESPN2).

Yesterday, the Rainiers dropped the series opener to Reno, 6-1. Tacoma came out kind of flat after a sleep-depriving travel day.

Starting pitcher Brandon Maurer did not retire a batter yesterday, leaving the game with dizziness and stomach issues. Hopefully that was a temporary condition.

On the roster front, expect several moves today as the Mariners adjust their pitching staff to account for the days off around the all-star break.

On that note, we learned yesterday that Jeremy Bonderman refused his assignment to Tacoma and elected to become a free agent. Today reliever Josh Kinney leaves the Rainiers to return home to Missouri for the birth of his second daughter – he’ll rejoin the club after the all-star break.

Today’s game is at 7:05, and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, streaming right here, and available via the TuneIn app for iPads and smart phones. Tacoma starts RHP Chance Ruffin (0-0, 0.00) against Reno RHP Charles Brewer (3-7, 5.38).

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
  • The Mariners scored runs, but still lost their third in a row to the Red Sox.
  • John McGrath writes that the disappearance of the Mariners pitching depth is a curse.
  • Larry Stone has news on what Carter Capps is going to work on in Tacoma.
  • Jerry Brewer writes that the Mariners are fun to watch again.
  • Congratulations to former Rainiers reliever Steve Delabar, who won the Final Vote and will represent the Toronto Blue Jays in the all-star game.
  • The good news: a Mariners 16-year-old pitcher made Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet. The bad news: a Rainiers pitcher made the not-so-hot sheet. Yikes!
  • Dustin Ackley has a posse.
  • A big series started in Colorado Springs last night, where Salt Lake and the Sky Sox entered play tied in second place four games behind Tacoma. The Bees took the opener, 4-2, but the Sky Sox are getting PCL batting leader Corey Dickerson and dangerous veteran hitter Tyler Colvin back from the Rockies.
  • PCL all-star Wilmer Flores homered twice and drove in four runs as Las Vegas ripped Tucson, 11-3.
  • Fresno topped Sacramento in the ninth inning on Juan Perez‘s fourth hit of the game.
  • Manny Ramirez‘s bid for a game-winning home run landed just shy of the fence, and Omaha beat Round Rock 4-2. The Storm Chasers are celebrating 45 years in Omaha.
  • New Orleans whitewashed Oklahoma City, 11-0, as starter Brian Flynn was dealing.
  • After “tweeting his way out of town,” Ian Stewart returned to Iowa and homered as an Isotope.
  • Nashville ended a six-game losing streak with a 7-6 win over Memphis. Kentrail Davis had a double and a triple in his Triple-A debut.
  • Reno is hosting the Triple-A All-Star Game and the Fan Fest is loaded with former San Francisco Giants. No question about it, Reno is Giants territory.

Stick around for the fireworks after the game tonight.

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