Mariners demote Taijuan Walker to Triple-A

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Seattle has optioned right-hander Taijuan Walker back to Triple-A, but it looks like the move might be more about keeping the 21-year-old rookie on his normal schedule rather than any sort of performance-based demotion.

Walker has had one good start and one bad start since joining the rotation after missing the beginning of the season with shoulder problems, and he’s got a 3.60 ERA in five career starts as a big leaguer dating back to his debut last season.

He can either make one start at Triple-A or just hang out in Tacoma over the All-Star break, and then return to the majors for the beginning of the second half.

To take Walker’s roster spot the Mariners called up reliever Stephen Pryor from Triple-A, where the 24-year-old right-hander had a 4.91 ERA and 24/16 K/BB ratio in 26 innings.  He’s also had some shoulder problems, so expect Pryor to be used in a low-leverage role initially.

Roberto Osuna to be the Astros new closer

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When the Astros acquired suspended reliever Roberto Osuna it was viewed as a low-price move to bolster their bullpen. Now, it turns out, it was a move to get a closer. Manager A.J. Hinch said as much today, anyway, telling MLB Network Radio that Osuna is going to get most of Houston’s save chances going forward.

This comes the morning after a late innings loss to the Mariners. The closer who Osuna is going to take over for — Hector Rondon — didn’t even pitch in that game, with the damage coming on a three-run Robinson Cano homer off of Collin McHugh. Rondon has blown saves in two of his last three appearances, however, coughing up runs against the Mariners at home on August 12 and against the A’s this past Friday.

Osuna has made five appearances since joining the Astros, allowing one run, striking out three and walking one in five innings of work. Before that he saved nine games for the Blue Jays prior to his domestic violence suspension.