HOUSTON -- The Mariners recalled reliever Danny Farquhar on Saturday to bolster their overworked bullpen and the right-hander immediately chipped in with two scoreless innings in an 8-1 victory over the Astros. Veteran utility man Rickie Weeks was designated for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster.
"It's cool to be back in the big leagues," Farquhar said after not allowing a hit while walking two and striking out two in the seventh and eighth innings. "It was a little two-week hiatus down in Triple-A. I got some good defense today and I felt like my curveball was there. I threw some good fastballs. I felt good."
Farquhar went 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in five appearances for Triple-A Tacoma after being sent down three weeks ago following a rough start to his season in Seattle. The 28-year-old is now 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA in 21 outings for the Mariners this year after being a huge part of last season's bullpen success.
Seattle is short-handed in the bullpen after starters J.A. Happ and Felix Hernandez combined to go just 2 2/3 innings in the previous two games, with Hernandez lasting just one-third of an inning in Friday's 10-0 loss to the Astros.
Weeks signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Mariners just prior to Spring Training, and Seattle hoped to convert the long-time second baseman into a versatile player who could platoon in left field and help out at designated hitter and possibly first base.
But Weeks struggled defensively in the outfield, never got in a game in the infield and hit just .167 (14-for-84) with two home runs and nine RBIs in 37 games.
"Rickie is a professional and went about his business in the locker room in a very professional manner and was a positive influence on a lot of guys," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "It just didn't work out on the field, for whatever reason. With the stress we had on the bullpen, it was just a move we had to make."
Once the Mariners traded for another right-handed outfield/first base bat in Mark Trumbo, Weeks' role was even further reduced.
"Playing time was certainly going to be diminished quite a bit," McClendon said.
Weeks, 32, was a 2011 All-Star for the Brewers and spent his first 11 seasons in the Majors playing second base for Milwaukee. The Mariners now have 10 days to trade, release or outright his contract to the Minor Leagues.
Farquhar started one game for Tacoma and pitched two-plus innings in his past three outings as the Mariners looked to give him a chance to regain the form that allowed him to post a 2.66 ERA in 66 appearances in 2014.
"He got better," McClendon said. "We just wanted him to get out and pitch and gain his control back, get his feel for his pitches back."
The Mariners now have an eight-man bullpen, but it remains to be seen if they'll stick with one fewer position player on the bench than normal heading into an Interleague road series with the Giants on Monday.
• Nick Neidert, the Mariners' top Draft pick (60th overall in second round) will report to the Mariners' Rookie League team in the Arizona League after agreeing to terms on Friday. The 18-year-old right-hander just graduated from Peachtree Ridge High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. Arizona League play begins next Saturday.
Andrew Moore, who was Seattle's second selection (72nd overall), will be assigned to Short-A Everett when the AquaSox open their season on Thursday. Moore, another right-hander, just completed his junior year at Oregon State.
• Outfielder Justin Ruggiano, who was designated for assignment on June 4 by the Mariners, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma. Ruggiano, 33, hit .214/.321/.357 with two home runs and three RBIs in 36 games for Seattle.