SEATTLE — After the Seattle Mariners signed veteran catcher Humberto Quintero, he flew to Seattle from his Houston home so fast that his luggage lagged.
“My clothes just got here (Saturday),” Quintero said.
The clothes came just in time for the 33-year-old Venezuelan to get his first start behind the plate during Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Quintero hit eighth and went 0-for-2.
The Philadelphia Phillies designated Quintero for assignment Wednesday after he hit .250 in 24 games. The Mariners picked him up in free agency Friday after he cleared waivers, and he arrived two hours before Friday’s 13-inning game.
Quintero worked in the bullpen during Seattle’s 3-2 loss, getting acclimated with the pitching staff, then got the starting nod Saturday after Henry Blanco caught the previous 18 innings.
“I’m happy to be here and happy to help the team,” said Quintero, who appeared in parts of 11 big-league seasons with the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals and the Phillies. “I’m ready.”
Seattle starting pitcher Aaron Harang, who allowed three hits in five innings, said he and Quintero quickly meshed, thanks to their days as competitors in the National League Central. When Quintero played for the Astros, Harang was with the Cincinnati Reds.
“It was an easy adjustment for him and an easy adjustment for me,” Harang said.
MAURER UP, NOESI DOWN
The Mariners recalled right-hander Brandon Maurer from Triple-A Tacoma and sent down right-hander Hector Noesi.
Interim manager Robby Thompson said Maurer, who posted a 3-4 record and a 5.21 earned-run average in 10 starts with the Rainiers, would work out of the Mariners’ bullpen as the long reliever.
“He’s been throwing the ball really well, so we’ll give him a little different scenario out there and see how he is coming out of the bullpen,” Thompson said.
Noesi, who has had three stints with the Mariners this season, is 0-1 with a 5.64 ERA over nine appearances.
Kyle Seager (2-for-3) is batting .398 in July with four doubles, five home runs, 11 RBI and 20 runs scored. … Outfielder Michael Saunders (hamstring tightness) singled to center in the eighth as a pinch hitter.
The Mariners and Twins close out their four-game series at 1:10 p.m. Sunday. Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 8.71 ERA) and Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson (2-2, 5.72) will start on the mound. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, 1030-AM and 710-AM.email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @megwochnick