ANAHEIM -- Newly acquired reliever Sam Tuivailala was added to the Mariners roster on Sunday, with Casey Lawrence optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to make room.Tuivailala joins the Mariners bullpen after being obtained from the Cardinals in a trade for Minor League reliever Seth Elledge on Friday. The 25-year-old was 3-3
ANAHEIM -- Newly acquired reliever Sam Tuivailala was added to the Mariners roster on Sunday, with Casey Lawrence optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to make room.
Tuivailala joins the Mariners bullpen after being obtained from the Cardinals in a trade for Minor League reliever Seth Elledge on Friday. The 25-year-old was 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 31 2/3 innings over 31 games for the Cardinals this season.
"I'm happy that I'm finally here," Tuivailala said. "I was super eager to get into the clubhouse, see the guys and meet everyone. It was tough saying goodbye to my teammates and everyone in St. Louis and calling that place home. But it's all part of the game, and I'm super excited to be here.
"I've heard a lot of great things about Seattle. I love the city and have family and friends there as well. It's closer to home for me, coming from California. And obviously these guys are playing great baseball and are in the pennant race right now, and I'm excited to help the team out any way I can."
Tuivailala made his Major League debut as a 21-year-old with the Cardinals in 2014 and has pitched in 96 games for St. Louis over the past five seasons, with a 3.65 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings.
"Definitely in 2014 when I made my debut it was pretty much a fast-forward button for me," he said. "I was not expecting that, starting out the year at Single-A and next thing you know, I was debuting. But it was good. You have to learn fast and adjust quick in this game. I think it helped a lot."
Tuivailala figures to pitch some of the middle innings for Seattle, which currently holds a one-game lead over Oakland in the chase for the American League's second Wild Card berth at 61-43 with 58 games remaining.
"Chasen Bradford has done some of that stuff for us," manager Scott Servais said. "Depending how hard we're running some of the other guys and how he's throwing [he could get some later innings]. You ride the hot hand. If we like what we see and he's getting them out, we'll keep firing him out there."
Lawrence pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief of Felix Hernandez in Saturday's 11-5 loss to the Angels, allowing six hits and four runs to put his ERA at 8.16 in seven games with the Mariners this season.
Paxton set to return Sunday
James Paxton hasn't had any further back issues this weekend and remains on target to come off the DL on Monday to face the Astros in the series opener at Safeco Field. Mike Leake and Wade LeBlanc will start Tuesday and Wednesday's games.
Servais wasn't quite as prepared to commit to the rotation remaining in place beyond that, with Hernandez coming off another rough outing in Saturday's loss, saying he'll talk to general manager Jerry Dipoto when getting back to Seattle.
"Uhhh, yeah, right now," Servais said of staying in turn. "I'll get a chance to sit down with Jerry when we get back home, but for right now, that's probably what we'll do."
Edgar's turn coming?
As Servais spoke with the media prior to Sunday's game, the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were playing on a TV in his office. How will he feel if his hitting coach, Edgar Martinez, gets elected next year after coming up just shy in his ninth season of eligibility?
"That would be the ultimate," Servais said. "I love this day, I really do. All the guys going in now are from my era and you played against and know the personalities and how they're wired. It brings back a lot of memories, how'd we get this guy out or that guy got a big hit or facing that particular pitcher and how uncomfortable you were that particular day.
"I love it and hopefully we'll keep our fingers crossed that Edgar's turn is next year. He's more than deserving of being up on that stage. He's the most humble superstar I've ever been around. Everybody in Seattle knows what he means to the Mariners. More than that, his numbers speak for themselves. He should be up on stage."
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.