SEATTLE — The next round of September roster shuffling unfolded Monday when the 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 explained. "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 two-to-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.
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 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 September 1.
Olmos, 25, was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in six games, including two starts, after his Aug. 17 recall from Tacoma. The Mariners acquired him last 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, was 0-4 with a 5.75 ERA over 30 appearances this season in four previous big-league tours. He was 1-1 with 3.08 ERA in 27 games at Tacoma.
Right fielder Nelson Cruz was upbeat after testing his ailing right quadriceps muscle prior to Monday’s game by running in pre-game 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 suffered the Wednesday while running the bases at Houston. He sat 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 Monday’s lineup because of a strained right groin suffered last Friday at Oakland.
The injuries left the Mariners with just healthy reserves for Monday’s game: 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."
The Mariners, entering Monday, still have the American League’s worst batting average with runners scoring position at .230.
But they’re getting better.
The Mariners are batting .277 with runners in scoring position over their previous 32 games. Had they hit at that rate all season, they would rank fifth among AL clubs behind Toronto, Kansas City, Minnesota and Baltimore.
That .230 average with RISP ranks 29th among all 30 clubs. Only Cincinnati, at .218, is worse.
It was 16 years ago Tuesday — Sept. 8, 1999 — that 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 on Tuesday. Nothing is confirmed, but 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 lefty Vidal Nuno…The Mariners, entering Monday, have an 8-4 lead in the season series against Texas despite being outscored 47-44 in the 23 games. They haven’t won a season series against the Rangers since 2007…Nelson 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 2002-3 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) will face Texas lefty Cole Hamels (2-1, 3.89.)
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.