In what figures to be one of their final "fresh-arm" moves of the season, the Mariners summoned veteran right-hander Christian Bergman back to the big leagues prior to Monday’s series opener in Baltimore.
Bergman replaces right-hander Dan Altavilla, who was optioned (officially) to Triple-A Tacoma after pitching a career-high three innings Sunday in a 10-1 loss to the Yankees in New York.
This marks Bergman’s third tour with the Mariners. He was 4-4 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 previous games, including eight starts, from May 7 to June 20 and Aug. 12-13.
Bergman, 29, was designated for assignment after his last tour, but he remained with the organization by accepting an outright assignment to the Rainiers after clearing waivers.
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The Mariners have one opening on their 40-man roster after Bergman’s return.
Optioning Altavilla, 24, to the Rainiers was expected because his 45-pitch workload Sunday effectively rendered him unavailable for the three games in Baltimore.
Such concerns won’t exist by the time the Mariners return home Friday for the start of a nine-game homestand. MLB rules permit clubs to expand their rosters to as many as 40 players on Sept. 1 for the remainder of the season.
Altavilla should return at some point in September for what will be a fifth big-league tour. He is 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 31 appearances, while also going 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA in 19 games at Tacoma.
Despite the expanded rosters in September, optioned players remain ineligible to be recalled for 10 days unless they replace a player placed on the disabled list.
***Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez, whom the Mariners signed Aug. 11 to a minor-league deal, became a free agent by exercising an out clause in his contract.
Gomez, 29, allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings over five appearances at Tacoma and loomed as a possible September promotion candidate.
He had 37 saves last season at Philadelphia but was released June 23 after compiling a 7.25 ERA in 18 games.
***The Mariners reopen an old scar in facing right-hander Chris Tillman (1-7 with a 7.75 ERA) at 4:05 p.m. Pacific time Monday in the start to a three-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore. Tillman was part of what might be the worst trade in franchise history.
***What trade? On Feb. 8, 2008, the Mariners traded Tillman, outfielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill and two other players to the Orioles for left-hander Erik Bedard. Tillman is 7-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 11 career games against the Mariners.
***The Mariners are starting lefty Marco Gonzales (0-1, 6.23), who has yet to pitch through the fifth inning in four starts since his Aug. 5 recall from Tacoma. The Mariners are 2-2 in his starts.
***The Mariners enter the series at 66-65 and trailing Minnesota (67-63) by 1 1/2 games in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth. Los Angeles is tied with the Mariners at 66-65.
***Baltimore is 65-65 and one-half game behind the Mariners and Angels (and two games behind the Twins). The Orioles are coming off a three-game weekend sweep of AL East leader Boston.
***The Mariners won two of three when the clubs played Aug. 14-16 at Safeco Field. Those were the Mariners’ most-recent home games. The current three-game series at Camden Yards concludes a 12-game trip through four cities.
***The Mariners are 5-4 on their current trip. They won two of three at Tampa Bay and Atlanta before losing two of three in New York.
It was 20 years ago Monday — Aug. 28, 1997 — that Omar Olivares became first pitcher in Mariners history to drive in a run.
Olivares actually drove in two runs with a single through the left side in the second inning against Pedro Astacio at Colorado in the fifth interleague road game in Mariners history.
It gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead, but Olivares couldn’t hold it. He gave up six runs in six innings in a 9-6 loss to the Rockies.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners