Get ready to add right-hander Evan Scribner to the Mariners’ ever-changing bullpen mix.
Sources said the Mariners had an agreement in place Tuesday night to acquire Scribner from Oakland but indicated the deal might not be completed until Thursday after the Rule 5 Draft.
Scribner, 30, is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after going 2-2 with a 4.35 ERA in 54 games. While he had 64 strikeouts and just four walks in 60 innings, he also allowed 14 homers.
Even so, Scribner comes with four years of club control and would fit the Mariners’ general profile in acquiring relievers: Buying low on pitchers with stuff who are coming off a disappointing season.
Sources indicated Oakland might initially receive a player to be named later in return for Scribner. That would enable the Athletics to have a roster spot available to make a selection with sixth pick in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Mariners have the 11th pick but would have no roster spots available if they add Scribner prior to the draft.
The Mariners are cautiously optimistic that lefty reliever Charlie Furbush can regain his form after missing the final three months this past season because of biceps tendinitis and a slight tear in his rotator cuff.
“He’s going through his offseason workout programs,” Dipoto said, “and all arrows are pointing north. He’s trending in the right direction. That being said, he hasn’t really gotten into his throwing program yet.
“We won’t know for certain until he hops on a mound and starts to throw. But right now, we have no reason to believe he won’t be ready.”
Furbush compiled a 2.08 ERA in 33 games last season prior to his injury.
The ongoing search for a first baseman prompts a question: What about Jesus Montero, who is out of options and coming off a dynamic season at Triple-A Tacoma?
Dipoto said Montero “could be” in the picture.
“Certainly as it pertains to a right-handed portion of a platoon,” Dipoto said, “he’s an option for us. We have to find out how he handles the defensive duties, but he can swing the bat.
“He is out of options. So he’s going to be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t make our club. One thing I can say is we do believe Jesus can hit. We’re going to find out if that fits for us.”
MONTGOMERY IN MIX
Left-hander Mike Montgomery is also out of options and, barring injuries, might have to pitch his way onto the club as a reliever.
“Mike Montgomery will compete (initially) for innings at the back of the rotation,” Dipoto said. “If it doesn’t work out for him, the bullpen is an option.”
Tampa Bay had converted Montgomery to relief duty a year ago before trading him to the Mariners on March 31 for right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.
“At that point,” Dipoto said, “they were seeing velocity of 92-94 (mph) with some good angle and a breaking ball out of the bullpen.”
HULTZEN TO THE PEN
Lefty Danny Hultzen’s next comeback will be as a reliever.
“We’re going to try a new avenue,” Dipoto said. “He will come to spring training wth the idea that we’ll deploy him as a bullpen guy and just see how it works.”
Hultzen, 26, was the second overall pick in the 2011 draft but missed most of the past three seasons while undergoing and recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Mariners designated Hultzen for assignment last month in order to clear space on their 40-man roster. When he cleared waivers, he was sent to Tacoma on an outright assignment.
“It’s unfortunate,” Dipoto said, “that he’s had to deal with a lot of the physical issues that he’s had. He’s terrifically talented. One of the best college pitchers I ever saw.
“I want to see him pitch in the big leagues. He deserves to. He works so hard. He is so prepared. He is so talented. It would be a shame if he never gets the chance to realize that dream.”
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners