Nelson Cruz is hoping he’s close to a return to the starting lineup. With the M’s scheduled to face three quality left-handed starting pitchers — Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and Derek Holland — in the final three games of the series against the Rangers, having Cruz would be ideal.

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Nelson Cruz is hoping he’s close to a return to the starting lineup. With the Mariners scheduled to face three quality left-handed starting pitchers — Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and Derek Holland — in the final three games of the series against the Rangers, having Cruz’s bat back would be ideal.

Cruz suffered a strained quad in the finale of the series in Houston and missed the three-game series at Oakland. He did agility work before batting practice on Monday and also ran sprints to test the leg.

“My first sprint I felt it a little bit,” Cruz said. “The other ones it was good. It was a little tight still. But the more that I ran, it got better.”

Cruz said there are no issues when he is hitting.

“The first time I tried to hit it was normal,” he said.

Cruz hopes to be in the lineup soon.

“It depends on the manager,” Cruz said. “I think I can pinch-hit and then DH in the next few days.”

Roster move

The Mariners optioned left-handed pitcher Edgar Olmos to Class AAA Tacoma and recalled right-hander Danny Farquhar from Tacoma.

“It gives us the best chance to win a ballgame today,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “And that’s the only game we’ve got today.”

Farquhar has been inconsistent for much of the season in multiple stints with the Mariners. In 30 appearances, he’s posted a 5.75 ERA.

Olmos made two starts and four relief appearances. He was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA.

Upcoming roster moves

With Class AAA Tacoma’s season ending on Monday with a 5-0 win in Las Vegas, the Mariners plan to recall four players for Tuesday with the expanded rosters. Sources said James Jones, Jesus Montero, Steven Baron and pitcher J.C. Ramirez will join the team on Tuesday.

Catcher Mike Zunino will not be called up. He will instead go to Arizona and participate in the upcoming instructional league. It was always assumed that the Mariners would bring him back after the Rainiers’ season ended. But Zunino is undergoing a massive swing overhaul with hitting coach Cory Snyder under the supervision of Edgar Martinez.

The Mariners will have to bring up a catcher. Baron is solid defensively and is a good athlete. He’s never been much of a hitter in the minor leagues with a career .227 batting average over seven seasons.

Baron and Zunino are the same age and were the two of the top high-school catchers in the state of Florida in 2009. The Mariners selected Baron with their supplemental first round pick (33rd overall) of the 2009 draft, while Zunino went on to the University of Florida.

Jones will provide outfield depth and pinch-running capabilities. With Franklin Gutierrez still day to day with a groin injury, Jones will be a useful bench player.

Montero returns after a brief six-game stint with the Rainiers as a right-handed bat off the bench. He went 2 for 2 with a double and two-run homer in Monday’s finale.

Ramirez was re-acquired in a minor league trade from the Phillies in July. He has a mid 90s fastball and power breaking ball.

He’s also not on the roster, but the Mariners will likely place Charlie Furbush on the 60-day DL to open up an extra roster spot.