Like clockwork, the Mariners subbed out their long reliever prior to Saturday’s game at Texas by recalling right-hander Rob Whalen from Triple-A Tacoma after optioning lefty Zac Curtis back to Double-A Arkansas.
Curtis pitched three innings in Friday’s 10-4 loss to Texas in the series opener, which effectively leaves him unavailable for the remainder of the series.
Whalen, 23, is up for his third big-league tour — May 6 and May 24-28. He started May 27 at Boston and gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 6-0 loss to the Red Sox.
Curtis, 24, spent just one day in the big leagues following his Friday recall from the Travelers as a replacement for Chase De Jong, who pitched four innings Thursday in a 6-2 loss at Minnesota.
Whalen is the sixth pitcher to serve as the bullpen’s long reliever over the last nine days. Tyler Cloyd, Emilio Pagan, Casey Lawrence, De Jong and Curtis were optioned back to the minors in an effort to keep a fresh arm available for the role.
The Mariners called on a long reliever to pitch multiple innings in four of their last six games.
Whalen is 0-4 with a 5.08 ERA in seven starts at Tacoma. He opened the season on the disabled lost because of shoulder inflammation and was optioned April 27 to the Rainiers after activated.
The Mariners acquired Whalen with pitcher Max Povse from Atlanta in a Nov. 28, 2016 trade for outfielder Alex Jackson and pitcher Tyler Pike
***Saturday’s pitching matchup is right-hander Yovani Gallardo (3-6 with a 6.11 ERA) against Texas lefty Martin Perez (2-6 and 4.56). The game starts at 2:05 p.m. Pacific time and can be seen on Root Sports Northwest.
***Gallardo lives in Fort Worth and pitched for the Rangers in 2015. He limited Texas to one run in six innings in a no-decision at Safeco Field. He is 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers.
***Perez is 5-3 with a 3.05 ERA in 14 career games against the Mariners, but he is 0-1 this season while allowing three earned runs in two starts at Safeco Field.
***Shin-Soo Choo is 1-for-16 in his career against Gallardo. Rougned Odor is 1-for-6, and Elvis Andrus is 2-for-10, but Delino DeShields is 4-for-7.
***Kyle Seager is 16-for-35 (.457) in his career against Perez, while Nelson Cruz is 7-for-15 with three homers. Danny Valencia is 6-for-19, but Robinson Cano is just 4-for-23.
***Mike Zunino has 19 RBIs in June. The club record for RBIs by a catcher in one month is 21 by Dan Wilson in April 1996.
***Only six players have 100 or more career homers at Globe Life Park. Cruz has 97.
***The Mariners have scored 89 runs in June. That ranks second among American League clubs to the New York Yankees, who have scored 110.
It was 34 years ago Saturday — June 17, 1983 — that Al Cowens appeared to hit an inside-the-park homer in Kansas City only to be called out for missing second base. That left Cowens with only a single in the box score.
The Mariners lost the game 3-1.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners