Still lighter than before but, apparently in game shape, shortstop Ketel Marte returned Tuesday to the Mariners’ active roster after just three weeks after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.
Marte, 22, was 4-for-14 in four rehab games over the last week — two at Short-A Everett and two at Triple-A Tacoma. He played all nine innings at shortstop Monday for the Rainiers in their 4-0 victory over Sacramento (Giants).
"I feel really good," he said. "I’m healthy now. I feel like I’m 100 percent ready to play. I played nine innings, and my energy level was good. I think I’m ready to go. I feel like normal."
The Mariners cleared space for Marte on their 25-man roster by optioning utilityman Mike Freeman back to Tacoma. Freeman, 29, went 2-for-6 in two games after being recalled prior to Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels.
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Marte lost 22 pounds during his illness and has only gained 14 back.
"The big thing," manager Scott Servais said, "is we’re going to try not to run him out there eight, nine or 10 consecutive days. He’ll play a couple and then get a day off. Keep him fresh and sharp as we go down the stretch."
Marte batted .273 with a .299 on-base percentage in 74 games prior to being diagnosed with mononucleosis after a July 17 game against Houston. He previously missed 13 games because of a sprained left thumb.
The move shifts Shawn O’Malley back into a utility role. The Mariners are 15-6 when he starts at shortstop.
Left-hander James Paxton increasingly appears likely to take his regular turn in the rotation or, perhaps, only get an extra day or two of recovery time after being hit in the elbow Sunday by a line drive.
"The swelling is continuing to go down," Servais said. "I’m hopeful that he can go out and play some light catch (on Wednesday). If he can do that, we can continue to build from there."
Paxton’s next scheduled turn is Saturday, but an open date Thursday permits the Mariners to shift him to Sunday, Monday or Tuesday without summoning another starting pitcher from Triple-A Tacoma.
***Former closer Steve Cishek continues to progress in his recovery from a tear in his left hip labrum. He began playing catch Sunday and could begin throwing from a mound this weekend in Oakland.
Cishek is eligible to return Aug. 17 from the disabled list. He was 2-6 with 25 saves and a 3.40 ERA prior to the injury.
MARTIN STAYS IN LINEUP
Center fielder Leonys Martin still isn’t sure what caused the spasm on the right side of his neck late in Monday’s victory over Detroit. He said the spasm hit as he was running to his position between innings.
Roots Sports Northwest camera caught Martin grimacing as he threw the ball back to the infield after catching a fly ball by Ian Kinsler in the eighth inning.
"I don’t know what happened," Martin said, "but I feel better today. I’m going to play."
Relievers Arquimedes Caminero and Edwin Diaz each hit 100 mph Monday on the radar gun after replacing Hisashi Iwakuma, who never touched 90 mph, in a 3-0 victory over Detroit in the series opener.
By adding Caminero, acquired Saturday from Pittsburgh, the Mariners now have three of MLB’s top seven pitchers in terms of pitches recorded this season (through Monday) at 100 mph or higher.
Caminero ranks fourth with 82; Diaz is sixth with 36; and Paxton is seventh with 31.
The rest of the top seven: Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman is first at 313, followed by Atlanta reliever Mauricio Cabrera at 178 and New York Mets starter Noah Syndergaard at 128. New York Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi is fifth at 37.
ROACH, PARKER CLAIMED
Two veteran right-handers who rebuilt their careers this season at Triple-A Tacoma, Donn Roach and Blake Parker, were claimed by other clubs Tuesday on waivers.
Roach, 26, is heading to the Detroit Tigers, while Parker, 31, is going to the New York Yankees. Both were designated for assignment Aug. 4 by the Mariners after brief big-league tours.
The Tigers optioned Roach to Triple-A Toledo.
The Mariners signed Roach to a minor-league contract on Dec. 5, 2015. He was 6-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 22 games at Tacoma, including 17 starts, and went 2-0 in four big-league relief outings while allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Roach spent time last year with three organizations — the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Toronto — before signing with the Mariners.
Parker pitched one scoreless inning Aug. 4 for the Mariners after being added to the roster before getting designated Aug. 6 for assignment. He was 1-2 with 19 saves and a 2.72 ERA in 38 games at Tacoma prior to his promotion.
The Mariners signed Parker to a minor-league contract on Dec. 18, 2015 after he spent the previous nine seasons in the Chicago Cubs’ system. He missed most of last season while recovering from elbow surgery.
Lo-A Clinton right-hander Kevin Gadea struck out 10 in five innings Monday in a 7-2 victory over Beloit (Athletics). Three relievers combined for seven more strikeouts over the final four innings.
Gadea, 21, permitted just one unearned run and improved to 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in six games, including two starts, since his July 13 promotion from Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League.
The Mariners signed Gadea, a Nicaraguan native, for $42,000 as an international free agent in 2012 after scouting him at an academy run by former major-league pitcher Dennis Martinez.
Gadea (6 feet 5 and 188 pounds) has 61 strikeouts and 10 walks in 43 innings this season at Clinton and Peoria. Baseball America reports that his fastball sits at 92-94 mph and he has "feel for the change-up and an improving breaking ball."
It was 26 years ago Wednesday — Aug. 10, 1990 — that Ken Griffey Jr. matched what was then a career-high with four hits, and Randy Johnson struck out 10 in eight innings in leading the Mariners to a 4-1 victory over Boston at the Kingdome.
Mike Schooler closed out the victory for his 29th save after Johnson walked the first batter in the ninth inning. Johnson improved to 10-7, while Griffey raised his average to .324.
The Mariners took their official 2016 team photo prior to batting practice. They all dressed in their standard home white uniforms for a picture behind second base, looking toward center field. The last player to arrive for the picture: Felix Hernandez…the Mariners, through Monday, were batting .267 with runners in scoring position since July 2, which ranks fourth among American League clubs in that span…the Mariners have used 48 different players through Monday, which is already tied for the fifth-highest total in franchise history. The club record is the 51 players used last season.
The Mariners and Tigers conclude their three-game series with a marquee pitching match-up at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday at Safeco Field.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (6-4 with a 3.55 ERA) will face Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander (12-6, 3.52). The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners