The need to activate Triple-A Tacoma outfielder Boog Powell from the restricted list Wednesday prompted the Mariners to make a series of corresponding roster moves.
The Mariners cleared space on their 40-man roster by removing reliever Casey Fien, who was sent to Tacoma on an outright assignment after clearing waivers. Fien has the option of rejecting the assignment and becoming a free agent.
To replace Fien on the 25-man active roster, the Mariners recalled right-handed reliever Evan Marshall from Tacoma. Marshall, 26, made one appearance for the Rainiers after being acquired April 4 from Arizona in a waiver claim.
“(Marshall) does it a little different from some of the other guys we have,” manager Scott Servais said.” He’s more of a sinkerball-type guy with a good breaking ball.”
The Mariners needed to act Wednesday regarding Powell, who completed an 80-game suspension Tuesday imposed last June for failing a drug test. While on the restricted list, he did not count against the club’s 40-man roster limit.
Fien, 33, allowed seven runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings over five appearances. He signed with the Mariners on Dec. 3 as a free agent after splitting time last season with Minnesota and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Marshall was a fourth-round pick by Arizona in the 2011 MLB Draft who compiled a 2.74 ERA in 57 appearances as a rookie in 2014. He is 4-7 with a 4.50 ERA overall in 85 big-league games over parts of three seasons.
“When I got sent to Tacoma,” he said, “it had been a couple of weeks since I had been on the mound. We got rained out a bunch (at Sacramento), but that gave me the opportunity to throw some bullpens.
“Get down the hill and feel the ball coming out of my hand on the mound again. I had an appearance where I came into a game with some guys on base, and I was able to work a couple of strikeouts. I could see positive things velocity-wise.
“A day later, I get called in the office and told, `Hey, your one appearance was awesome. We’re going to send you up.’ I was high-fiving and hugs all around. And here I am.”
Powell batted .270 last season in 64 games at Tacoma prior to his suspension. He resurrected his status as a prospect this year in spring training by batting .577 (15-for-26) in 16 games.
“He’s made some adjustments in his swing and how he’s approaching it,” Servais said late in spring. “He is staying more aggressive…When he’s going good, he’s continuing to stay aggressive.”
Another bullpen shuffle could be coming by the weekend.
Rehabbing right-hander Tony Zych threw to hitters in a simulated inning in the early afternoon and appears poised to be activated from the disabled list.
“Obviously, it’s up to them,” he said, “and we’ll see what happens. But this was a big step. Just getting into the stadium, I think, made a big difference. I was feeling it. Getting a little extra adrenaline.”
Zych made two rehab appearances at Tacoma with mixed success in his recovery from October surgery for a biceps tendon transfer. He was scheduled to pitch Wednesday at Cheney Stadium, but weather concerns prompted a change in plans.
“We wanted to make sure he got his work in,” Servais said. “That’s why we brought him in here today. He looked very good. Very sharp. The ball was coming out of his hand very well. The breaking ball was good. He feels good.”
***Right-handed reliever Steve Cishek could begin a rehab assignment within a days as the next step in his recovery from October surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. Servais said Cishek has already pitched in extended spring training.
As expected, the Mariners will use Thursday’s open date to realign their rotation in order to split up their two lefties, James Paxton and Ariel Miranda.
Paxton will jump ahead of Hisashi Iwakuma and make his next start Saturday against Texas. Iwakuma will start Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers.
The Mariners chose their original alignment in order to get Iwakuma a start in last weekend’s series at Anaheim because of his career-long success against the Angels. That part worked.
Iwakuma held the Angels to one run in six innings before the bullpen squandered a six-run lead in the ninth inning.
EIGHT IN A ROW
Rookie right fielder Mitch Haniger entered Wednesday’s series finale with an eight-game streak of scoring at least one run. That matched a franchise rookie record set by Danny Tartabull in 1986.
Haniger is just the seventh different player in club history to have an eight-game streak. Prior to Haniger, the last one to do it was Franklin Gutierrez, who had an eight-game run last season from May 24 to June 4.
The last player to have a nine-game streak was Nelson Cruz, who did it in 2015.
Three things to note heading into Friday’s pitching matchup between right-hander Felix Hernandez and Texas lefty Martin Perez:
***Hernandez is 18-23 with a 3.95 ERA in 50 career starts against the Rangers, including 1-2 with a 7.47 ERA last season in three starts. Perez is 5-2 with a 3.16 ERA in 12 games against the Mariners, including 2-2 and 4.50 at Safeco Field.
***Hernandez won’t face long-time friend Adrian Beltre (12-for-51), who has a strained right calf muscle. Elvis Andrus is 27-for-93 (.290) but has struck out 15 times. Shin-Soo Choo also has 15 strikeouts while going 11-for-47.
***Kyle Seager is 12-for-30 with four homers in his career against Perez, while Nelson Cruz is 5-for-10 with two homers. Danny Valencia is 6-for-15, but Robinson Cano is just 4-for-18.
It’s been a blazing start for the Mariners’ top three pitching prospects: Andrew Moore, Nick Neidert and Max Povse have permitted just two runs (both by Neidert) and nine hits in a combined 29 2/3 innings.
Moore, 22, has 12 scoreless innings over two starts at Double-A Arkansas — and two no-decisions. He has 12 strikeouts and three walks while allowed just three hits.
Povse, 23, pitched seven shutout innings and got the victory in his only start for the Travelers. He allowed two hits while striking out five and walking one.
Neidert, 20, is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA at Hi-A Modesto after pitching six shutout innings Tuesday in a 6-0 victory at Stockton (Athletics). He has allowed two runs and four hits over 10 2/3 innings in two starts with two walks and 10 strikeouts.
Taylor Motter’s three doubles Tuesday matched a club record. It has been done 25 previous times. Edgar Martinez and Ichiro Suzuki each did it twice…Houston designated hitter Carlos Beltran is one of two remaining active players who once played in the Kingdome. The other is Atlanta pitcher Bartolo Colon...Hisashi Iwakuma turned 36 on Wednesday.
It was 27 years ago Thursday — April 13, 1990 — that the Mariners recorded their first home sellout in franchise history when a crowd of 54,874 packed the Kingdome for the club’s home opener.
The crowd saw Rickey Henderson open the game with a homer as Oakland scored five runs in the first inning against Scott Bankhead and rolled to a 15-7 romp.
The Mariners have an open date Thursday before continuing their nine-game homestand Friday with the first of three weekend games against Texas at 7:10 p.m. Safeco Field.
The King’s Court will be in session Friday for the first time this season when Felix Hernandez (0-1 with a 4.09 ERA) pitches against Rangers lefty Martin Perez (1-1, 2.38).
Ken Griffey Jr. will throw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the celebration surrounding the unveiling of his statue in right field. The Mariners are giving out 45,000 miniature replicas of the status to those in attendance.
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network, including mariners.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv).
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners