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Nelson Cruz, tied for the American League RBI lead, will DH and hit fourth Friday. (AP)
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Mariners notebook: Scott Servais remains optimistic Nelson Cruz won’t be out long

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Nelson Cruz was not in the Mariners’ lineup Sunday morning after banging his right knee while sliding into second base in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Angels. But he wasn’t on the disabled list either, which is good news, for now.

“Feels better,” Cruz said shortly before the start of Sunday’s game. “The doctor says day to day. I feel better than yesterday, so tomorrow hopefully it will be better and I can play soon.”

Cruz had the knee checked by the doctor at the stadium Saturday night and will have it looked at again Monday by team doctors in Seattle. The exact diagnosis is not entirely clear, but manager Scott Servais is hopeful that it is nothing that will keep his DH out long.

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“The big structural issues, everything is fine there,” Servais said. “It’s just like a bruise, a hard contusion more likely. I’m not an expert, but everything I was told, the manual tests showed everything is fine.”

Cruz injured the knee trying to get to second on a hard hit ball to center. He had been running better in the past week and felt he could push it a little. Cruz has been good about taking extra care to be cautious on the bases for the majority of the season after suffering leg injuries, but Servais believes he may have been trying to do a bit too much Saturday.

“I think part of it has been tied to he hasn’t been as hot with the bat so he wanted to give something,” Servais said. “He’s running hard, trying to do what he can to get it going. Unfortunately, yesterday was his birthday and it wasn’t a great birthday for him.”

Powell up, Povse down

With the short bench the Mariners have been going with for the majority of the season, a move needed to be made right away with Cruz unavailable Sunday. Boog Powell is up from Triple-A Tacoma and reliever Max Povse has been sent down.

“It was a good experience for him to get a cup of coffee and understand how the whole thing works here and the routine,” Servais of Povse. “He will be back.”

The Povse callup was sooner than expected with the right-hander only recently being moved to the pen and making just one appearance before his callup since coming off the DL. It was a good first look for the Mariners and Povse will now get the opportunity to pitch on a regular basis for the Rainiers.

M’s reportedly sign two international players

Sunday marks the opening of the international signing period and the Mariners, according to reports, have been very active, signing outfielder Julio Rodriguez out of the Dominican Republic to a $1.75 million deal and Venezuelan shortstop Juan Querecuto for $1.225 million. MLBPipeline.com has Rodriguez ranked ninth and Querecuto 26th on its top 30 list. Servais, who knows a thing or two about organizational development from his days with the Rangers and Angels, has been watching with interest.

“It’s huge,” he said. “The two biggest days of the organizational year, draft day and July 2. The heart and soul of the organization is people getting talent in. There’s not enough players in the draft to fill a good minor-league system. You have to have to have strong international otherwise you cannot survive in the game. It all starts with getting talent in. It’s a really, really important day. It’s a very stressful time leading up to it, deals can change like that. The draft is a little different. International is very risky and you really have to have strong relationships.”

Note

• Saturday night, reliever Mark Rzepczynski made his first appearance since June 24. I asked Servais Sunday morning if his absence had been situational or if there had been something else. Servais indicated that Rzepczyski had been available, but with the lineups the Mariners had been facing, there was just not much opportunity to use him.

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