Danny Farquhar was thinking about food, not his future.
Farquhar was standing in line in the Cheney Stadium clubhouse ready to enjoy the postgame food spread after a disappointing 6-5 loss to Memphis in 10 innings on Thursday night.
“I was starving,” he said.
But his hunger pangs would have to wait. He was summoned into Tacoma Rainiers manager John Stearns’ office.
Farquhar walked into the office, where Stearns, bench coach Scott Steinmann and pitching coach Dwight Bernard were waiting.
“They just handed me the itinerary,” Farquhar said.
The itinerary showed he was going to Cleveland to join the Seattle Mariners.
“I was speechless,” he said.
With a bullpen decimated after Thursday’s tough win in New York and the team facing six games in as many days, the Mariners were forced to make a roster move. They selected Farquhar’s contract from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned right-hander Hector Noesi back to the Rainiers. To make room for Farquhar on the 40-man roster, reliever Stephen Pryor was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
“We pretty much used everybody yesterday, so we have to stay on top of their workloads,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “Farquhar has been throwing well in Triple-A, so he was the guy.”
After some congratulations from his coaches and teammates, Farquhar, 26, immediately called his wife, who was in the parking lot waiting for him. He ran and gave her a big hug.
Farquhar never did go back and eat after getting the news.
“I forgot all about being hungry,” he said.
In 15 appearances with the Rainiers, Farquhar posted a 0-1 record with six saves and 2.25 earned-run average (5 earned runs in 20 innings pitched). His numbers were even better recently – just one run in his past 11 relief appearances for a 0.56 ERA (one run in 16 innings). He also struck out 24 hitters and walked two during that span.
A big part of Farquhar’s recent success has been his curveball. He can run his fastball up to 95 mph and his cut fastball is around 90-91. But it’s the curveball – usually around the low 80s with some depth and sink to it – that has made the difference.
“He has good stuff, it was just a matter of using all of it,” said Mariners third base coach Daren Brown, who managed Farquhar earlier this season. “Once he started doing that, he was good, and it looks like he’s continued to be good.”
Farquhar was ignoring the curveball early, and he needed that pitch to provide a change in velocity and eye level.
“It’s a put-away pitch,” Brown said. “Hitters don’t see it, and they’re just not ready for it.”
Farquhar understands its importance now.
“It’s a big off-speed pitch that I need to continue to throw for strikes; continue to mix in there because I have the fastball and cutter, which are two hard pitches,” he said. “Even if it’s just showing it to hitters, it’s changing the speed, changing the plane and the eye level. The curveball is a big difference maker.”
Farquhar was acquired on July 23 in 2012 from the New York Yankees along with pitcher D.J. Mitchell in exchange for Ichiro Suzuki.
His prior big league experience was three appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011.
The move with Pryor isn’t surprising. The Mariners are being careful in his recovery. Pryor also suffered a minor setback the other day.
“It’s just been slow coming,” Wedge said of Pryor’s recovery. “He tried to play catch the other day and he didn’t feel great. So we backed him off of that a little bit. For a guy that size with that injury and the way he throws, it’s not the best scenario. We knew when we started out it was going to be some time, but I don’t think we know how much right now.”
Noesi was the odd man out with the bullpen depleted. But Wedge was quite pleased with what he saw in Noesi’s spot start Thursday.
“We’ve talked a lot about him the last year or so, that’s what we are talking about,” Wedge said. “That type of aggressiveness, that type of stuff, that little edge he had out there, that type of focus, that’s what we want.”
Michael Morse was a late pregame scratch on Friday after he suffered some eye irritation. It was a tough break for Morse and the Mariners. During the first three games of the trip in New York, Morse was 7-for-12 with a double, a homer and two walks.
Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders (3-4, 5.51 ERA) will be looking for his first win on the road this season (0-4, 12.54 ERA in four road starts), while Cleveland will start right-hander Zach McAllister (3-3, 2.68 ERA) Saturday. The 10:05 a.m. game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM, 1030-AM.