SEATTLE -- While the Baseball Writers Association of America is still debating the merits of putting a player who was primarily a designated hitter into the Hall of Fame, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia casts no doubt where he stands on the matter of Edgar Martinez's candidacy.
"(The Seattle Mariners) had such incredible teams (in the mid-1990s through the early 2000s), but the one guy you didn't want to see come up to the plate with the game on the line was Edgar Martinez," Scioscia said. "He's been compared to the Tony Perez of his generation. What a clutch hitter. No doubt in my mind he's a Hall of Famer."
Scioscia and his Angels will be present Saturday night when the Mariners retire Martinez's No. 11 in a pregame ceremony before the teams continue their battle for an American League wild-card berth.
The only other number retired by the franchise is the No. 24 of Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.
"It means a lot. It makes me reflect on my career, reflect way back when I first started playing and look into the past and make you reflect on the people that have been involved in my life and kind of helped me and in some cases guide and teach me," said Martinez, who became Seattle's batting coach midway through the 2015 season. "In those terms, it means a lot because it's people involved that helped me through all those years."
Martinez spent his entire 18-year playing career with the Mariners, batting .312 with 309 home runs and 1,219 RBIs. A two-time American League batting champion, he had a .418 on-base percentage and .515 slugging percentage.
"It is amazing. ... Just the appreciation baseball fans here in the city have for him and what he did for such a long period of time," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "His numbers are unbelievable when you start to look at what he did year after year after year. The on-base, the extra base, the number of hits, the clutch hits, it was crazy what he was able to do. It's great that our players get to work with him every day, learn from him."
Those who believe he's Hall-worthy -- the designated hitter of the year award is named the Edgar Martinez Award, after all -- hope this weekend's jersey retirement will shed more light on his numbers. He received 58.6 percent of the vote this past year and his two years of eligibility remaining.
"I think it could. We'll see," said Martinez in his typical low-key manner. "Only time will tell, but I think this is a positive thing."
Said Servais: "Edgar never shows much excitement. I think he's more anxious for it to be all over. It's a great honor, certainly very deserving, for what he's done for this ballclub and this city. I told staff I'm glad I'm here to see it.
"Last year when Junior did his thing it kind of energized our team a little bit. I think this will do the same."
The Mariners could use any help they can get, especially after placing ace left-hander James Paxton on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left pectoral muscle he injured in the series opener Thursday.
That leaves right-hander Yovani Gallardo as the only member of the Mariners' projected season-opening rotation still active, with Paxton, Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly all on the DL.
The Mariners faced a similar circumstance in May.
"The difference is August is when you're battling for a (playoff) spot," Servais said. "We're going to have to be more fluid (with the pitching staff). The plan is going to be a little different, not conventional, but I think it can work."
The Mariners will send right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (4-4, 5.10 ERA), re-acquired from Tampa Bay in a July 28 trade, to the mound Saturday to face Angels right-hander JC Ramirez (10-10, 4.21).
Erasmo Ramirez is 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA in 10 career appearances against the Angels, including six starts.
JC Ramirez began his career in the Mariners organization before being part of the 2009 deal with Philadelphia that brought Cliff Lee to Seattle. He returned to the Mariners briefly in 2015 before the Angels claimed him off waivers from Cincinnati last season.
He has never started against the Mariners, but is 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA in six relief appearances against them. He earned a victory against Seattle on April 8 at Angel Stadium, his last relief appearance before being moved into the rotation.
JC Ramirez struggled in his last start, allowing six runs on eight hits in seven innings against Baltimore, but had a 1.93 ERA over his previous five starts, including eight shutout innings Aug. 2 against Philadelphia.
He credited his recent success to his sinker.
"Lately, it's been moving a lot," JC Ramirez told The Orange County Register after his start against the Phillies. "I don't know if I'm doing something with my hands, but I like it. If I'm throwing it for strikes, then I can do whatever I want to do with that sinker because they're swinging at it sometimes when I'm behind in the count. I like where it is right now."