SEATTLE (AP) The Mariners optioned starting pitcher Taijuan Walker to Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday so he can remain on schedule during the All-Star break.
Seattle recalled reliever Stephen Pryor to take Walker's spot on the roster. The Mariners plan to start reliever Tom Wilhelmsen and use their bullpen to get through Thursday's series finale against Minnesota.
Wilhelmsen has never started a game in the majors.
''I wouldn't be honest if I told you that I hadn't thought about it. He's been impressive in the long role,'' manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''Certainly intriguing. Something that's been on my mind.''
Seattle needed a starter for Thursday after ace Felix Hernandez was pushed back to start Friday against AL West-leading Oakland.
Walker was expected to start this weekend against Oakland, but Seattle will now use Hisashi Iwakuma and Chris Young on normal rest for the final two games of the series.
Walker was 1-1 in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A on June 30. The young right-hander is scheduled to start two games for Tacoma and the current plan is to have him rejoin the Mariners during the second series after the All-Star break.
Pryor has not pitched in the majors since early in the 2013 season. He started this year on the disabled list after undergoing surgery to repair his right latissimus dorsi muscle.
Pryor is 2-1 with a save and a 4.91 ERA in 21 appearances for Tacoma this year.
''This team's been playing great all year,'' Pryor said, ''and for me to get a chance to get up here and play, I'm excited.''