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Cruz sidelined by right quad strain

Slugger's status unclear for remainder of series in Oakland

OAKLAND -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz was sidelined on Friday with a strained right quad muscle that knocked him out of Wednesday's victory over the Astros in Houston, momentarily interrupting his quest to become Seattle's first 40-homer player since Alex Rodriguez in 2000.

Cruz leads the Majors with 39 home runs, but missed Friday's opener with the A's and his status remains up the air for the remainder of the weekend series.

"He's better, but not available," manager Lloyd McClendon said prior to Friday's game. "Maybe tomorrow."

Cruz, who also leads the Mariners with a .310 average and 82 RBIs, injured his hamstring while running the bases in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 8-3 win. He spent Thursday's off-day treating the injury, but isn't ready to run again yet.

"I'm just chilling today and tomorrow I'll probably hit [in batting practice]," Cruz said. "I'll just go out there and see how it feels. It's definitely a lot better today. It was kind of tight yesterday, but I iced it a lot, so I didn't really have a chance to see how it was. Today it feels pretty good."

Worth noting

• With Cruz out, McClendon put Franklin Gutierrez in the No. 3 spot in the lineup in order to continue breaking up left-handers Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano in the Nos. 2 and 4 positions.

Tom Wilhelmsen has recorded six straight saves without allowing a run since moving into the closer's position on Aug. 23, and McClendon indicated the 31-year-old will remain in that role going forward, with rookie Carson Smith back in the full-time right-handed setup slot.

"He's there," McClendon said. "I don't see any changes in the near future."

• When Logan Morrison came off the bench to homer in Seattle's last two wins in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday, he joined Leroy Stanton (1977) as the only Mariners to do that in successive games.

Shawn O'Malley went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in his Mariners debut on Wednesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other players ever to accumulate three-plus hits and two-plus RBIs in their first game with Seattle were Henry Cotto (1988), Eliezer Alfonzo (2010) and Seth Smith (this year).

• Left-hander Joe Pistorese, the Mariners' 17th-round Draft pick out of Washington State in June, has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Pistorese was 6-0 with three saves and a 1.28 ERA in 42 1/3 innings in 16 relief appearances for Class A Everett. The suspension is effective immediately.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.
Read More: Seattle Mariners, Nelson Cruz