Right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen appears ready to rejoin the Mariners’ bullpen after experiencing no problems Thursday in working a 25-pitch simulated inning prior to the series finale against Texas.
"Everything felt great," he said. "No issues. I wasn’t getting tired. Nothing with the back. Nothing anywhere. All good."
Wilhelmsen, 32, first reported spasms in his lower back after a disastrous outing Aug. 21 in a 7-6 loss to Milwaukee. He initially tried to recover through a few days of rest, but the symptoms reappeared after an Aug. 25 appearance at Chicago.
Barring an unexpected setback, Wilhelmsen should be activated for this weekend’s series at Oakland. He was 0-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 22 appearances since returning June 21 to the Mariners as a free agent.
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"I thought he threw the ball well," manager Scott Servais said. "The ball was coming out well. He threw all of his pitches. No constraints. We’ll see how he feels (Friday) when he comes in. But if he feels OK, we’ll add him in our bullpen."
Shawn O’Malley and Mike Zunino faced Wilhelmsen in the simulated inning, but each simply watched pitches. Even so, Wilhelmsen was encouraged by his performance.
"I feel pretty darn good," Wilhelmsen said. "The heater feels pretty darn good. When you know guys aren’t up there swinging, it’s tough to do what you’d really want to do in a game.
"But the change-up felt good coming out of my hand. The curveball did exactly what I wanted it to do. I could throw a few more sliders, but that (simulated inning) was pretty darn close."
The Mariners recorded their 33rd multi-homer game at Safeco Field in Wednesday’s 8-3 victory over Texas. Adam Lind hit two homers, including a grand slam, and Seth Smith had one.
Prior to this season, the Mariners had never had more than 26 multi-homer games at Safeco, which opened midway through the 1999 season. They had 26 in 2006.
FOUR TIMES 20
Lind’s two homers in Wednesday’s victory enabled him to become the fourth Mariner this season to reach 20. That’s the ninth time in franchise history that four or more players hit 20 homers.
Nelson Cruz entered Thursday’s series finale against the Rangers with a club-leading 35 homers, followed by Robinson Cano with 32 and Kyle Seager with 26.
The last time the Mariners had four players reach 20 homers was 2013 with Raul Ibanez (29), Kendrys Morales (23), Seager (22) and Justin Smoak (20).
Overall, it’s not a particularly rare feat. There are 10 other clubs already this season that have four or more players with 20 homers. Baltimore has six.
The Mariners’ four-year contract extension with Short-A Everett, announced Wednesday, effectively leaves the organization with only one player-development contract to resolve later this month: Double-A Jackson.
The organization has agreements running through 2018 with Triple-A Tacoma and Lo-A Clinton. While not yet announced, it will shift its Hi-A operations next season to Modesto.
The Mariners previously purchased controlling interest in the Modesto franchise, currently a Colorado affiliate, in order to find a replacement for Bakersfield, which is folding after its current postseason run concludes.
Jackson has been a Mariners affiliate since 2007, but its player-development contract expires at the end of this season. Once the minor-league seasons conclude, either side can notify the other of its intention to seek another partner.
The was 15 years ago Friday — Sept. 9, 2001 — that Bret Boone broke the record for RBIs by American League second basemen by getting two and boosting his season total to 128 in a 6-0 victory over Baltimore at Safeco Field.
Detroit’s Charlie Gehringer had 127 RBIs in 1934. Boone finished with 141, which remains the AL record. The MLB record is 152 by Rogers Hornsby of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1922.
Hornsby has the top three RBI seasons by a second baseman. He also had 149 in 1929 and 143 in 1925. Boone ranks fourth on the all-time list.
Reliever Dan Altavilla turned 24 on Thursday. He shares a birthday with three formers Mariners pitchers: Gil Meche (38), Chance Ruffin (28) and Bob Wolcott (43)…Nelson Cruz entered Thursday with RBIs in six straight games. The last Mariner to do that was Michael Saunders in 2014…Short-A Everett is shifting the location of its postseason game Friday to Safeco Field. Rain forced a postponement Wednesday in the opener to the best-of-three series against Spokane (Rangers) at Everett. The series opener shifted to Thursday night at Spokane.
The Mariners open a six-game trip to California with the first of three weekend games against the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the Oakland Coliseum.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (14-11 with a 4.01 ERA) looks to break a personal four-game losing streak when he faces Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden (1-6, 6.66).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on the Mariners Radio Network, which includes 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners