The morning after found Nelson Cruz still nursing a sore right knee and replaced in the lineup by Boog Powell, whom the Mariners recalled from Triple-A Tacoma prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Los Angeles Angels.
Cruz came up limping in pain Saturday after a slide at second base in the second inning of a 4-0 loss at Angel Stadium. The injury isn’t believed to be serious, but he seems unlikely to play for a few days.
“It feels better,” he said. “The doctors say `day to day.’ I feel better than (Saturday), so hopefully (Monday) I will be able to play soon.”
Cruz’s injury prompted the roster move, which the Mariners set in motion Saturday night by pulling Powell in the fifth inning of Tacoma’s loss to Albuquerque (Rockies) at Cheney Stadium.
"He’s been swinging the bat very well in Triple-A," manager Scott Servais said. "He’s probably one of their hottest guys.
"With Nelson being dinged a little bit and not knowing how soon he’s going to be back, obviously we need another position player."
The Mariners chose not to place Cruz on the 10-day disabled list and instead cleared roster space for Powell by optioning right-handed reliever Max Povse to Tacoma.
Povse, 23, gave up three runs and seven hits over 2 2/3 innings in two appearances following his June 18 promotion from Double-A Arkansas.
"I saw some things I really liked," Servais said. "Obviously, the size (6 feet 8) and stature and the downhill plane. The fastball is very good. The inconsistency with his breaking ball frustrated him a little bit."
Povse pitched primarily as a starting pitcher in his four pro seasons before the Mariners shifted him last month to the bullpen in an effort to accelerate his path to the big leagues.
"He needs to develop his own routine as far as getting ready in the bullpen," Servais said. "He’ll go to Triple-A. He’ll be out of the bullpen there. That should help him. He’ll be back with us."
Powell, 24 is back this season for a third big-league tour. He was just 5-for-28 in 20 previous games but drew six walks, which boosted his on-base percentage to .324. He was batting .331 with a .426 OBP in 41 games at Tacoma.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners