The next round of September roster shuffling unfolded Monday when the Seattle Mariners recalled reliever Danny Farquhar from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned lefty Edgar Olmos to the Rainiers.
“It gives us the best chance to win a ballgame today,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s the only game we’ve got today, and it’s the only one I’m worried about. What’s the next question?”
The Mariners are expected to add another four players Tuesday from Tacoma, which closed its season Monday with a 5-0 victory at Las Vegas.
Outfielder James Jones is expected to be recalled, while the Mariners are leaning toward selecting Steve Baron to be their third catcher for the closing weeks instead of recalling Mike Zunino.
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Baron is not currently on the 40-man roster.
The Mariners are also likely to recall first baseman/designated hitter Jesus Montero and select reliever J.C. Ramirez. Like Baron, Ramirez must also be added to the 40-man roster.
The move to send Olmos to Tacoma suggests the Mariners don’t believe he can help them in the closing weeks. There was no need to clear roster space because clubs are permitted to carry 40 players after Sept. 1.
Olmos, 25, was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in six games, including two starts, after his Aug. 17 recall from the Rainiers. The Mariners acquired him in November in a waiver claim from Miami.
The Mariners beat the deadline in sending Olmos to Tacoma since the rules require that an optioned player must be able to report to the minor-league club while it is still playing.
Farquhar, 28, arrived in time Monday to work a scoreless ninth inning, which lowered his big-league ERA to 5.59 for 31 appearances. He had a 3.08 ERA in 27 games at Tacoma.
Right fielder Nelson Cruz was upbeat after testing his ailing right quadriceps muscle prior to the game by running in pregame drills.
“I did all of the agility (drills),” he said, “and it was good. Then my first sprint, I felt it a little bit. Then the other (sprints), it was good. I guess it was just tight still, but the more that I ran, it felt better.”
Cruz said he will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam Tuesday but, barring any setbacks, he expects to play later in the day as the designated hitter.
Cruz suffered the injury Wednesday while running the bases at Houston. He sat out Monday’s game despite having six hits, including two homers, in eight career at-bats against Yovani Gallardo.
Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez also remained absent from the lineup because of a strained right groin suffered Friday at Oakland.
The injuries left the Mariners with just healthy reserves: outfielder Stefen Romero and catcher Jesus Sucre.
“I’ve got two guys on the bench,” McClendon said prior to the game. “I’m hoping that I would have Cruz to pinch-hit, and then I’ll run Sucre for him.”
It didn’t come to that.
Lefty James Paxton’s tortured path back to the rotation took a positive step when he played catch for the first time since suffering a blister and a torn fingernail Wednesday in a rehab start for Tacoma at Salt Lake.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “I played catch with no problems. I’ll see how it is (Tuesday), and I’ll go from there. I should have a better idea then.”
Paxton hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since suffering a strained tendon in his middle finger in a May 28 start against Cleveland. He was expected to return this week to the rotation before his latest setback.
It was 16 years ago Tuesday — Sept. 8, 1999 — when Tom Lampkin hit a two-out, two-run, walk-off homer against Billy Koch in a 4-3 victory over Toronto at Safeco Field.
Lampkin’s homer followed a leadoff walk by Jay Buhner and came after the Mariners surrendered the lead in the top of the inning when Jose Mesa gave up a two-out, two-run homer to Carlos Delgado.
The game began as a pitchers’ duel between Jamie Moyer, who allowed one run in eight innings, and Toronto’s Ray Halladay, who pitched seven shutout innings.
Major League Baseball will release the 2016 schedule Tuesday. Nothing is confirmed, but the Mariners are expected to open the season at Texas. ... The Mariners are still listing their Wednesday starter as “to be announced.” The best guess in left-hander Vidal Nuno. ... Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to 10 games by going 1 for 3 with a walk. He is batting .487 (19 for 39) in his surge. ... The Mariners were shut out for the 10th time this season, but it was the first time in more than two months. The last time was also a holiday: a 2-0 loss at Oakland on July 4. ... The Mariners have an 8-5 lead in the season series against Texas despite being outscored 50-44 in the 13 games. They haven’t won a season series against the Rangers since 2007. ... Cruz, once he returns to action, needs one more homer to become the seventh player in history to have successive 40-homer seasons with different clubs. The last to do it was Jim Thome in 2002-03 with Cleveland and Philadelphia.
The Mariners and Rangers continue their four-game series at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Taijuan Walker (10-7, 4.51 ERA) will face Texas lefty Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.89).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710-AM.