CHICAGO — Healthy again, outfielder Guillermo Heredia made his delayed arrival to the big leagues Friday when he joined the Mariners prior to the start of their three-game weekend series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
"I’m really fortunate that this organization saw all of the hard work I was doing down there," Heredia said, "and that I got the chance to come up."
The Mariners recalled Heredia, 25, from Triple-A Tacoma after clearing space on their 25-man roster by optioning lefty reliever David Rollins to the Rainiers.
Heredia was in a line for a recall earlier in the week before suffering an injured right shoulder July 23 while diving back into first base on a pickoff at Salt Lake. He missed four games before returning to action Thursday for the Rainiers.
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"Luckily, it wasn’t anything serious," Heredia said. "It feels good now."
Heredia made his major-league debut in Friday’s 12-1 loss to the Cubs as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning for right fielder Nelson Cruz. Heredia struck out in his only plate appearance.
The move returns to the Mariners to a standard seven-man bullpen, and manager Scott Servais said the move was not made simply to add another position player for the weekend series.
The Mariners signed Heredia in March roughly two years after he defected from Cuba. He received a $400,000 signing bonus and will be paid a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum of $507,500.
"He’s a guy who can come in and defend late in the game," Servais said. "Pinch-hit, pinch-run — do those types of things. We will get him some starts here eventually.
"He can play center but, obviously, Leonys (Martin) has done a nice job out there. Heredia will see some time in the corners as well. We’ll get him in there. I’m excited. The reports have been very good."
Heredia began the season at Double-A Jackson, where he batted .293 with a .405 on-base percentage in 58 games. Promoted June 23 to Tacoma, he batted .340 with a .385 on-base percentage in 26 games.
"The biggest adjustment was the pitching," Heredia said. "Obviously, it’s different than in Cuba. Here, they focus more on fastball and change-up. Adjusting to that has been the biggest thing."
Rollins, 26, had a 7.04 ERA in nine games this season over four big-league tours. He also has a 2.05 ERA in 24 appearances at Tacoma.
Heredia batted .285 with a .376 OBP over six years for Matanzas in the Cuban league prior to defecting in 2014 while in Mexico. He also played for the Cuban national team in 2013 World Baseball Classic.
"Obviously, it was a big sacrifice to finally get here," Heredia said. "It’s been a lot of work. A big change this year. I’m glad to finally be here."
WALKER TO TACOMA
Right-hander Taijuan Walker experienced no problems Friday in a pre-game bullpen workout and will now head Monday to Tacoma to start a rehab assignment to test his recovery from tendinitis in his right foot.
The Rainiers are playing Albuquerque (Rockies) at 7:05 p.m. at Cheney Stadium. It will be Walker’s first game action since July 5, when discomfort in his foot forced him to exit a start at Houston after four innings.
Walker first experienced the problem in a June 14 start at Tampa Bay. He made three more starts before being placed on the disabled list. He was 4-7 with a 3.66 ERA in 16 starts prior to being placed on the disabled list.
***Reliever Nick Vincent is scheduled to throw another bullpen workout Saturday at Tacoma and, barring setbacks, should then be ready to start a rehab assignment with the Rainiers.
Vincent hasn’t pitched since June 26 because of a strained muscle in his middle back. He was 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA, one save and 11 holds in 35 games prior to going on the disabled list.
TRADE WHISPERS — A WHOPPER
Rumors are escalating as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches at 1 p.m. Monday. One making the rounds Friday was eye-popping; it had the Mariners talking to Cincinnati about outfielder Jay Bruce and shortstop Zach Cosart.
The purported deal had the Mariners sending shortstop Ketel Marte and minor-league outfielder Tyler O’Neill to the Reds.
No deal appears close.
For the Mariners, that would be a matter of trading the future for the present.
O’Neill, 21, is generally viewed as the organization’s most-advanced hitting prospect, while Marte, 22, is under club control for five more seasons. Marte is currently on the disabled list because of mononucleosis.
Bruce, 29, entered the weekend as the National League leader with 79 RBIs, He also had 25 homers and was batting .271 in 95 games.
Cosart, 30, was batting .266 through Thursday with 15 homers and 41 RBIs in 92 games. He is also under club control through next season.
Rehabbing lefty Charlie Furbush pitched one scoreless inning Thursday for Triple-A Tacoma in the first game of its double-header against El Paso (Padres) at Cheney Stadium.
Furbush gave up one hit and had two strikeouts in a 15-pitch performance that included 10 strikes. It was his seventh outing since beginning a rehab assignment July 8 at Short-A Everett for tendinitis in his right shoulder biceps.
Minor-league rehab assignments for pitchers can last a maximum of 30 days.
Furbush, 30, has allowed four earned runs and seven hits in six rehab innings, but three of those runs came in his first outing at Everett. He hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since July 7, 2015.
Double-A Jackson right-hander Andrew Moore carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning Thursday in a 6-3 victory at Jacksonville (Marlins).
Moore finished with a line showing two runs and three hits in 7 1/3 innings. He is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 12 starts for the Generals since his May 24 promotion from Hi-A Bakersfield, where he was 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA in nine starts.
The Mariners selected Moore, 22, with the 72nd overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Jackson outfielder Tyler O’Neill placed No. 14 on the weekly Prospect Hot Sheet as compiled by Baseball America. The rankings seek to identify which of the game’s top prospect are currently performing a high level.
O’Neill, 21, was 8-for-21 with two homers and six RBIs over the previous six games. He was the Mariners’ third-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft.
"The British Columbia native has enjoyed a remarkable breakthrough season," Baseball America reported, "in which he ranks among the (Southern League) leaders with a .301 average, 19 homers, 76 RBIs and a .533 slugging percentage."
It was 20 years ago Saturday — July 30, 1996 — that the Mariners acquired left-hander Jamie Moyer from Boston for outfielder Darren Bragg.
At the time, Moyer was 66-77 with a 4.50 ERA in 239 games over 9 1/2 seasons with five clubs. He was 145-87 with a 3.97 ERA in 324 games for the Mariners over the next 10 years.
The Mariners inducted Moyer into their Hall of Fame in 2015.
The Mariners and Cubs continue their three-game series at 11:20 a.m. Pacific time Saturday at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Left-hander Wade Miley (6-8 with a 5.23 ERA) will face Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (12-3, 2.76).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners