BALTIMORE — Veteran right-hander Joaquin Benoit returned Tuesday to the Mariners’ bullpen mix after passing a final test on his sore shoulder in a pre-game bullpen workout.
"It went well," he said. "You can tell people that I’ll be available tonight."
Benoit was available but not needed Tuesday when the Mariners romped to a 10-0 victory over Baltimore in the opener to a three-game series at Camden Yards.
The Mariners cleared space for Benoit by optioning right-handed reliever Mayckol Guaipe to Triple-A Tacoma, which prompted a corresponding move on the Rainiers’ roster: utilityman Ed Lucas was released.
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Benoit, 38, hasn’t pitched since April 21 because of shoulder inflammation but immediately reclaims his duty as the primary set-up reliever for closer Steve Cishek.
"It just shuffles guys down a little bit," manager Scott Servais said. "You have to keep in mind that Benoit is not going to go out there and pitch three or four days in a row. That’s not going to happen.
"He’s going to need some time to get his legs and his arm underneath him and build from there."
Benoit began the season with four scoreless one-inning appearances before blowing a save when he surrendered a two-run homer to Mike Napoli on April 21 at Cleveland. The Mariners eventually won that game 10-7 in 10 innings.
Guaipe, 25, allowed six runs (four earned) and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings over five appearances since his April 25 recall from Tacoma to replace Benoit on the active roster.
The Mariners acquired Benoit on Nov. 12, 2015 from San Diego in a trade for two minor-league players.
Benoit has a 3.84 ERA over 666 games in a 15-year career with five clubs, including a 2.34 ERA in 393 games since missing 2009 season while recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery (Tommy John surgery).
Other reliever updates:
***Lefty Charlie Furbush, 30, is tentatively scheduled to pitch to hitters under simulated game conditions Thursday at Tacoma in his recovery from tendinitis in his left shoulder biceps.
Barring any setbacks, Furbush is then scheduled to join the players taking part in extended spring training in Arizona. He has not pitched since July 7, 2015.
***Right-hander Tony Zych, 25, did not make the trip and is continuing his recovery from tendinitis in his rotator cuff by playing catch in Seattle. He hasn’t pitched since May 1.
The Mariners knew outfielder/DH Mark Trumbo had a chance to blossom in Baltimore when they made the Dec. 2, 2015 deal that sent him to the Orioles with reliever C.J. Riefenhauser for catcher Steve Clevenger.
"It does not surprise me one bit," Servais insisted. "He was still a Mariner when I got this job. So I had a talk with Trum. I like Mark a lot. He’s a really sharp guy. I like how he goes about his business."
Servais and general manager Jerry Dipoto were part of the Angels’ front office when that club traded Trumbo to Arizona after the 2013 season.
The Mariners made the deal because they viewed Trumbo as a defensive liability at spacious Safeco Field and had no space for him, because of Nelson Cruz, as their primary designated hitter.
Baltimore was one of the few clubs interested in acquiring Trumbo, who was eligible for arbitration after making $6.9 million in 2015. He avoided arbitration by agreeing in January to a one-year deal for $9.15 million.
For the Orioles, that now looks like money well-spent. While Trumbo, 30, went hitless Tuesday in four at-bats, he has 11 homers, 28 RBIs and a .299 average in 37 games.
"Of all the places he could have landed for him and his future," Servais said, "this one was probably a pretty good landing spot. We knew that when we traded him over here — that this ballpark was going to help him.
"But he’s just been a better hitter. He’s controlling the strike zone better. He’s swinging at more strikes. He’s laying off some pitches. He’s a tougher out. Trum has always been a streaky hitter. When he is hot, he is really good."
If San Diego outfielder Jabari Blash clears waivers after being designated for assignment, look for the Mariners to try to work out a trade enables him to remain with the Padres.
The Mariners lost Blash, 26, last December in the Rule 5 Draft to Oakland, which then traded him to San Diego.
Players taken in the draft can’t be sent to the minors for an entire year without first being offered back to their former club for $25,000. The prohibition doesn’t apply if their former club reacquires the player and then trades him.
Blash batted .120 in 23 games for the Padres with one double, no homers and no RBIs in 25 at-bats. He batted a combined .271 last season with 32 homers and 81 RBIs in 116 games at Triple-A Tacoma (56) and Double-A Jackson (60).
Nelson Cruz led the majors with 40 homers in 2014 when he played his only season in Baltimore before signing a four-year deal with the Mariners as a free agent.
But Cruz has also always hit well against the Orioles throughout his other 11 big-league seasons: a .361 average in 47 games with 13 doubles, nine home runs and 40 RBIs. He has at least one hit in 41 of those 47 games,
Robinson Cano’s hitting streak ended at 13 games when he went hitless Sunday in three at-bats, but went 3-for-4 in Tuesday’s victory over the Orioles and has reached base at least once in his last 16 games.
Cano was 27-for 70 (.386) in that span, which boosted his average from .236 to .302. And like Cruz, Cano has a history of hitting well at Camden Yards: a .367 average in 83 games with 29 doubles, 15 homers and 46 RBIs.
Right-hander Edwin Diaz, generally viewed as the organization’s most-advanced pitching prospect, isn’t likely to remain much longer at Double-A Jackson.
Diaz, 22, pitched two scoreless innings with five strikeouts Monday in a 10-3 loss at Mobile (Diamondbacks). It was his third scoreless outing, covering four innings, since he was shifted to bullpen duty.
It was eight years ago Wednesday — May 18, 2008 — that Ichiro Suzuki became the Mariners’ all-time leader in stolen bases when he got No. 291 in a 3-2 victory over San Diego at Safeco Field.
The previous record belonged to Julio Cruz with 290 from 1977-83. Suzuki boosted his total to 438 before a 2012 trade sent him to the New York Yankees. That remains the franchise record.
Suzuki now has 500 stolen bases in his 16-year career, including two this season with Miami.
The Mariners and Orioles continue their three-game series at 4:05 p.m. Pacific time. Right-hander Taijuan Walker (2-2 with a 2.63 ERA) will start against ex-Mariners right-hander (and long-time nemesis) Chris Tillman (5-1, 2.58).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
The Mariners traded Tillman to the Orioles on Feb. 8, 2008 along with outfielder Adam Jones and three other players for lefty Erik Bedard, who was injured for much of his two-plus seasons in Seattle.
Tillman is 6-0 with a 2.98 ERA in eight career starts against the Mariners.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners