Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners getting healthy just as the schedule turns in the favor

Hey, Felix, who is returning this week from the disabled list?
Hey, Felix, who is returning this week from the disabled list? AP

This is the week the tumblers really start to fall in place for the Mariners in terms of the schedule and the disabled list. Whether it translates to a much-needed rise in the standings is still to be determined.

But consider…

***Starting Monday, the Mariners play 16 of their next 19 games at Safeco Field, where they are 20-13. Further, only three of those 19 games are against clubs that currently have a winning record.

"Hopefully, we can get some momentum going here," manager Scott Servais said. "We’ve swung the bats for the most part at home very well this year."

***Felix Hernandez will, officially, be activated from the disabled list in time to start Friday’s series opener against Houston. His last big-league start was April 25.

"I’m good," Hernandez said simply prior to Monday’s game against Detroit. If so, the Mariners can’t ask for anything more.

***Shortstop Jean Segura and right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma were scheduled for rehab appearances Monday for Triple-A Tacoma against Salt Lake (Angels) at Cheney Stadium.

Segura was batting .341 when he suffered a high ankle sprain June 1 on a slide at second base. Plans call for him to play two (maybe three) games at Tacoma before returning to active duty.

"The workouts have been pretty good," Servais said. "I don’t think he’s at 100 percent, but he’s pretty close."

Iwakuma is tentatively scheduled to return to ticketed to Saturday against the Astros — assuming he encounters no setbacks during or after his start Monday at Tacoma. His last big-league game was May 3.

"It’s a matter of getting consistent starting pitching," Servais said. "That is what’s going to determine (success). Consistent starting pitching allows you to put long (winning) streaks together.

"When you add (Drew) Smyly, he’s the final piece we’re waiting for. It will be very interesting."

***Smyly suffered a strained flexor bundle in elbow in late March. He is scheduled for another bullpen workout Tuesday and, if no setbacks, a simulated game before the weekend concludes before heading out on a rehab assignment.

That keeps Smyly on track to return shortly after the All-Star break.

"We knew were up against it five or six weeks ago," Servais said. "You try to map out how you’re going to get through it. We took a unique approach, I think. You’ve seen the number of transactions we’ve made."

The Mariners have used an MLB-leading pitchers this season, including 12 different starting pitchers. The tentative rotation suggests two key replacement parts, Christian Bergman and Sam Gaviglio, are heading back to Tacoma.

Yovani Gallardo is scheduled to start Thursday, but Bergman and Gaviglio are not listed in the next cycle — those slots are going to Hernandez and (tentatively) Iwakuma.

"We can only have five starting pitchers," Servais said. "We’ll take it a day at a time. We’ll see how Kuma comes out of it (Monday). Sam has done a really good job for us. He’s kept us I a lot of ballgames.

"Nothing definite yet. Those guys could go into the long role. Guys could go back to Tacoma. We’ll wait and see."

OVERTON TO SAN DIEGO

Tacoma left-hander Dillon Overton, designated Sunday for assignment, was claimed on waivers by San Diego and assigned to Triple-A El Paso.

Overton, 25, split time this season between the Mariners and Tacoma. He was 0-0 with a 6.38 ERA in nine big-league games, and 1-2 with a 9.33 ERA in seven minor-league games.

The Mariners moved Overton off their roster to create a space for right-hander Max Povse, whom they promoted Sunday from Double-A Arkansas to serve as their long reliever.

The Padres cleared space on their 40-man roster for Overton by designating right-hander Zach Lee for assignment. Lee spent part of last season at Tacoma.

LOOKING FOR WORK

Two-time Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen is a free agent after clearing waivers at Arizona. He was 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA in 27 games this season for the Diamondbacks.

Wilhelmsen had a 2.97 ERA and 67 saves in in 267 games for the Mariners from 2011-15 before being traded to Texas. After being released last season by the Rangers, he signed with the Mariners and compiled a 3.60 ERA in 29 games.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners

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