Frieri was traded from the Rangers to the Mariners on Tuesday in exchange for cash considerations. Frieri will report to Triple-A Tacoma, where he will serve as organizational bullpen depth. The 32-year-old compiled an impressive 2.63 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 27.1 minor-league innings this season, though he has been unable to replicate that success in recent major-league seasons.
Frieri accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. He cleared waivers after being designated for assignment earlier in the week and will return to the Rangers organization without a spot on the 40-man roster. Frieri figures to work out of the bullpen at Round Rock for the time being but could be an option to be called up by the Rangers later in the season if their bullpen struggles continue.
Frieri gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in one inning to take the loss in Monday's 7-5 loss to the Red Sox in 11 innings. After the previous four Rangers relievers limited the Red Sox to just one hit over 4.1 innings, the floodgates opened when Frieri entered the contest in the top of the 11th. The well-traveled reliever induced a flyout to open the frame, but then loaded the bases before Andrew Benintendi hit a ball over the heads of a drawn-in infield for a game-winning two-run single. As has been the case in Frieri's previous career stops, reining in the free passes has been an issue for him over his first six appearances with the Rangers. He's already yielded six walks in seven innings.
Frieri covered three scoreless innings in Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays, giving up two hits and one walk while striking out two. Frieri, the owner of 73 career saves, has been deployed as a one-inning reliever for most of his eight big-league seasons, but he looked great while working in long relief Wednesday after starter Tyson Ross was lit up for seven runs over three innings. The key to the right-hander's success was pinpoint control, with 31 of his 45 pitches going for strikes. Frieri's walk- and homer-happy tendencies have caused trouble for him in the past, but so long as he shows an ability to avoid those issues in subsequent appearances, he could gradually slide into higher-leverage work out of the bullpen.
Frieri's contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday. Frieri will take the place of Andrew Cashner (oblique) on the active roster, while Peter O'Brien was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man for him. Between Triple-A Round Rock and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, Frieri compiled a 2.86 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 22 innings before earning his first major-league call-up since 2015. The 31-year-old's previous big-league experience could afford him some decent opportunities in a struggling Rangers bullpen.
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