HOUSTON — The first wave arrived Tuesday when, as expected, the Mariners summoned four players from Triple-A Tacoma in accordance with rules permitting rosters to expand to as many as 40 players in September.
The Mariners recalled outfielder Stefen Romero and right-handed reliever Jose Ramirez and selected the contracts of utilityman Shawn O’Malley and right-handed reliever Tony Zych.
The distinction is that Romero and Ramirez were already on the club’s 40-man roster, while O’Malley and Zych had to be added. With the additions, the 40-man roster is now full.
More promotions are expected next Tuesday, one day after Tacoma completes its season.
Romero, 26, spent much of last year in the big leagues but played this entire season at Tacoma. He batted .292 in 116 games for the Rainiers with 17 homers and 79 RBIs.
Romero also provides, potentially, a potent bat against left-handed pitchers; he had a .314/.340/.529 slash against lefties in the Pacific Coast League.
O’Malley, 27, is a true utilityman who signed in January as a minor-league free agent after nine seasons in the Rays’ and Angels’ organizations. He made his big-league debut last year by playing 11 games for the Angels.
The Mariners signed O’Malley, a switch-hitter, as a hedge against veteran Willie Bloomquist making a successful return from major knee surgery.
A Richland native, O’Malley was in line for a promotion in early July after the Mariners designated Bloomquist for assignment, but he suffered a broken thumb that sidelined him for nearly a month.
Healthy again, O’Malley arrives after batting .293 in 91 games and has 10 hits in his last four games.
Ramirez, 25, came to the Mariners with outfielder Ramon Flores in the July 30 trade that sent outfielder Dustin Ackley to the New York Yankees. His numbers at Tacoma weren’t great: 13 runs in 13 innings.
But Ramirez had a 2.90 ERA in 32 games earlier this year for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and appeared in 11 major-league games with the Yankees over the last two years.
Zych, 25, came to the Mariners from the Chicago Cubs in an April 1 cash transaction. He has never pitched in the big leagues, but he arrives on a roll: 21 scoreless outings in his last 22 games for Tacoma and Double-A Jackson.
Future promotion possibilities include several players already on the 40-man roster: catcher Mike Zunino, shortstop Chris Taylor, outfielder James Jones, and pitchers Mike Montgomery, Danny Farquhar, Lucas Luetge and Tyler Olson.