The Mariners have designated right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Ichiro Suzuki, whose return to the organization is now official (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Greg Johns).
Seattle acquired Armstrong, 27, in a minor December swap that sent $500K of international bonus allotments to the Indians. Armstrong spent his entire career in the Indians organization prior to that trade, debuting with the big league club in 2015 and going on to pitch 43 1/3 innings out of the Major League bullpen from 2015-17. In that time, he worked to a solid 3.53 ERA with 7.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.45 HR/9 and a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate.
Armstrong, however, was out of minor league options and was not a lock to make a bullpen that figures to be anchored by closer Edwin Diaz and righties Juan Nicasio, David Phelps and Nick Vincent in addition to lefties James Pazos and Marc Rzepczynski. That left just two spots for Armstrong, Mike Morin, Dan Altavilla, Tony Zych, Chasen Bradford and Nick Rumbelow — each of whom is on the 40-man roster and has minor league options remaining.
The Mariners will have a week to trade Armstrong or place him on outright waivers with the hopes of keeping him in the organization. He’s had a solid spring to date, allowing a run on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.