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Brandon Morrow switching roles ... again

I've been impressed with the Mariners' new regime, as first-year general manager Jack Zduriencik and company have made some nice moves at the margins of the roster--focusing primarily on low-cost free agents and improving the defense--without overhauling things completely.

The team is 28-30 after losing 101 games last season, but one of my few criticisms of the Zduriencik front office so far was the decision to convert Brandon Morrow into a full-time reliever at the age of 24. However, it sounds like those plans have now been scrapped.

After struggling in the closer role and eventually giving way to David Aardsma in the ninth inning, Morrow reportedly approached the Mariners recently about becoming a starter again and the new plan is for the former University of California ace to build up arm strength back at Triple-A.

Morrow has started just 15 total games between the majors and minors since the Mariners made him the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft, so he figures to be at Triple-A for a while. However, ultimately giving a young pitcher with outstanding raw stuff the opportunity to sink or swim in a 200-inning role before moving him to a 70-inning role is almost always the right call (see: Chamberlain, Joba).

Through his first 121 appearances, 116 of which have come out of the bullpen, Morrow has a 4.06 ERA, 161/98 K/BB ratio, and .216 opponents' batting average in 146 innings. It remains to be seen whether his shaky control will be any less of a problem working every fifth day for 80-100 pitches rather than every 2-3 days for 15-30 pitches, but it certainly makes sense to find out.

Assuming that he doesn't change his mind again next week, of course.

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