SEATTLE -- Mariners closer Brandon League's save in Wednesday's 5-3 victory over the Rangers was his first in two weeks. He had only one save chance in that stretch, a blown opportunity in a tough 6-5 loss at Cleveland, but wasn't pitching well and felt he got into some mechanical issues that weren't helping.
Thus the All-Star reliever was encouraged by Wednesday's 1-2-3 ninth when he retired Nelson Cruz on a deep fly to right field, then struck out Yorvit Torrealba and pinch-hitter Mike Napoli.
It didn't hurt that the Safeco radar gun clocked his initial fastball at 99 mph.
"I don't know how accurate that thing is, but as we say in the 'pen, if it's on the board, it counts," League said. "But I still have work to do. Even though the outcome was great, I feel like the first at-bat to Cruz, there were still some kinks. But I kind of got in the groove to Torrealba and Napoli. I just have to keep working."
After walking three batters and giving up two hits and two runs while recording just one out in his blown save in the 11th inning at Cleveland on May 17, League said his motion didn't feel right. He was still fighting things in Colorado when he allowed four hits and two runs in a non-save situation in a 6-4 victory.
"Yeah, there were a couple things I've been working on the past week or so," he said. "Specifically, arm angle and tempo with my motion. I've been working on it every day. When I'm out there, I'm not really thinking about that. I'm just trusting that what I'm working on carries over to the game."
Both strikeouts on Wednesday came on splitters, another positive sign.
"Being able to use anything besides my fastball just makes it more effective and vice versa," League said. "That keeps them off my fastball."
Mariners activate Olivo from DL, option Wells
SEATTLE -- Veteran catcher Miguel Olivo was activated off the 15-day disabled list by the Mariners and in the lineup for Thursday night's game with the Angels, with outfielder Casper Wells optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to make room in the 25-man roster.
Olivo had been on a rehabilitation assignment with Tacoma this week after recovering from a strained right groin muscle that happened on April 30 at Tampa Bay.
Olivo was batting .210 with four home runs and seven RBIs and had started behind the plate in 19 of the first 24 games before his injury, but manager Eric Wedge indicated he'd be splitting time more with rookie Jesus Montero and backup John Jaso in the immediate future.
"I talked to Miguel today and said, 'Listen, we're going to keep our options open with everything,' " Wedge said. "It's nice to have three catchers because you can catch one, DH one and still fill in for one if you need, especially with Montero, who'll you need to pinch-run for.
"I told Miggy we'd work him back in slow. Montero and Jaso have been doing all the catching. I still want both those guys to catch, but you're going to catch him, as well. We can also DH Miggy against left-handed pitchers. It's nice to have options. I'm not going to sit here and tell everybody how we're going to handle this, but they're all going to play."
Olivo hit .232 (3-for-13) during his three games with the Rainiers, including a 2-for-5 outing with a home run and two runs scored on Wednesday at Iowa.
With Jaso hampered the past two games by a sore shoulder, the Mariners were down to only Montero at full health, though Wedge said Jaso was feeling better each day and could play if needed.
Wells, 27, hit .213 (10-for-47) this season with one home run and six RBIs in 25 games. He'd started 12 games, all in left field, but the team now has Mike Carp back and healthy at that position and also has been using rookie Alex Liddi a little in left field, as well.
"He was the odd man out, simple as that," Wedge said. "I don't think it's a bad thing for him to go down there and play every day. It's been sporadic. I've only played him against left-handed starters. He's starting to find it a little, he's shown moments."
In anniversary season, Perry to throw first pitch
SEATTLE -- Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, who won his 300th game with Seattle in 1982, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Friday night's Mariners game against the Angels at Safeco Field.
Perry, 73, pitched for the Mariners in 1982 and '83. The five-time All-Star won 314 games in his career, including 13 with Seattle in his second-to-last stop in a 22-year career.
Perry returns to Seattle as part of the Mariners 35th Anniversary celebration, a season-long tribute to the franchise's history in which former players are welcomed back for special appearances and promotions.
Perry posted a 314-265 record over his career with a 3.11 ERA and 3,534 strikeouts. He was a five-time All-Star, a five-time 20-game winner and the first pitcher to win Cy Young Awards in both the American (1972) and National Leagues (1978).
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Injured center fielder Franklin Gutierrez did some pregame running under the watch of trainer Rick Griffin for a second straight day Thursday. He'll return to Arizona this weekend and play 5-6 games in extended spring training in Peoria before going out on a 20-day Minor League rehab stint, if his sore right heel continues to feel better.
"You have to stay strong in your mind," said Gutierrez, who has played only 92 games in the past year and a half due to a variety of ailments. "A lot of things have been happening to me the last two years, but that is something I cannot control. It just happens. I just have to work hard every day, take care of my body, but sometimes things happen and you just need to keep going."
First baseman Justin Smoak was given the day off Thursday, with Carp getting his first start of the season at first. That allowed Liddi to play his second straight game in left field.
Wedge said he's trying to give players occasional days off during this stretch of 20 straight games and felt this was a good one for Smoak given the matchup. He's 1-for-13 in his career against Angels right-hander Dan Haren.
With Wells sent down to Triple-A, Wedge said Chone Figgins would be used as a late-inning defensive replacement in left field initially and Figgins would also continue his role as a pinch-runner or utility player who can fill in anywhere as needed.