Mariners demote Erasmo Ramirez to Single-A

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In addition to sending Nick Franklin back to the minors following a six-day call-up the Mariners have also dropped right-hander Erasmo Ramirez from their starting rotation and demoted him all the way down to Single-A.

Officially the reason being given for sending Ramirez to Single-A instead of Triple-A is that he can remain on his current pitching schedule and, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com, “rejoin the rotation after the Mariners have two off days in next five days.”

Brandon Maurer will take Ramirez’s spot in the rotation Sunday and then the Mariners are hoping to activate Hisashi Iwakuma from the disabled list next week, so it seems far from a given that Ramirez will be back immediately.

Ramirez debuted at age 22 and posted a 4.25 ERA and 105/38 K/BB ratio in 131 innings between 2012 and 2013, but this season he allowed 18 runs and a league-high six homers in 24 innings. He actually threw a Quality Start last time out, including eight strikeouts versus the Astros, but afterward manager Lloyd McClendon was curiously critical of the performance anyway.

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.