Leone was recalled Monday after Tom Wilhelmsen was placed on the disabled list, and with the bullpen stretched thin due to three straight extra-innings games as well as a short start by Taijuan Walker, Leone gave the team seven big outs in his 36-pitch performance.
"He did a tremendous job for us," manager Lloyd McClendon said after the game, per MLB.com. "He knew going in he'd be stretched tonight if he came in. He was up for the challenge."
Leone struggled this spring, leading to him starting the season at Triple-A.
"I thought tonight was a huge step for me getting back to where I was last year and years past," Leone said. "I felt really good out there. I was throwing strikes and keeping the ball down. I'm taking a positive out of tonight despite the loss."
Leone went 8-2 with a 2.17 ERA and 70:25 K:BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings last season.
Wilhelmsen is dealing with a hyperextended elbow and will be placed on the 15-day DL. He has thrown 2 2/3 innings this season with a 6.75 ERA and three strikeouts. Wilhelmsen injured his elbow while trying to loosen up and swinging his arms. He slammed his arm into Dann Farquhar when he was running by.
Leone posted an 8-2 record with a 2.17 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings in 2014.
“I’ve had a lot better days, I’ll tell you that,” Leone said after exchanging hugs with many of his teammates as he packed up his locker. “This is one of the toughest days I’ve had. Last year was different because I kind of came in not expecting anything and when they optioned me down, it was disappointing. But not like this. Not after the season I had last year.
“I understand I didn’t have the greatest of springs, I’ll always have stuff to work on. But it’s tough when it kind of blindsides you like that.”
Leone struggled this spring, posting an ERA of 12.86 with 17 hits in only seven innings. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon wants Leone to get things worked out in Tacoma.
“I think the world of the young man,” McClendon said. “He just wasn’t throwing very well. He needs to get some things straightened out. In good conscious, I just couldn’t take him north with me.
“There are a lot of things that go into it. This isn’t something that just happened overnight. As a manager, you have a certain amount of loyalty to players, particularly when they pitched so well for you the year before. But it just was such a rough spring that we felt we had to make this move.”
Leone (7-2) has recorded wins in back-to-back appearances and is 4-0 in the month of August. He owns a 2.47 ERA and 58:23 K:BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings.
Leone (3-2) was excellent in the 11th inning, and the team decided to leave him in for the 12th after taking the lead. The reliever surrendered a leadoff home run before coming out. Leone owns a 2.20 ERA and 46:16 K:BB ratio in 41 innings.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|4/18/2015 vs Texas|
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|2013||AFA-High Desert Maverick||0||1||2.50||29||0||0||0||12||39.2||31||11||11||2||1||9||37|
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