Seattle pitcher Steve Cishek throws in the eighth inning of a Sept. 25, 2016, game in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Cishek activated from disabled list

SEATTLE — It’s been a long time, relatively, since Seattle Mariners reliever Steve Cishek took the mound in a Major League Baseball game.

OK, so it’s only been since last October. But spending the first six weeks of the season on the disabled list is enough to make any pitcher long to return to his seat in the bullpen.

“I need to get the first one out of the way, for sure,” Cishek said before Seattle’s Monday night game against the Oakland Athletics, the first of a seven-game homestand. “Let’s just say that.”

The Mariners activated Cishek on Monday, optioning left-hander Zac Curtis to Double-A Arkansas to accommodate the move. Cishek, a 30-year-old right-hander, was placed on the 10-day disabled list on March 31 as he recovered from October surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.

Cishek said he originally hoped to recover in time for the start of the season, thinking “it was just going to be a simple labrum repair. … my goal was opening day. To be a month and two weeks after opening day is a little disappointing, but at the same time, it needed to be done, I needed to get the surgery and I’m just glad to be back now. It was definitely long, though.”

Cishek retired the one batter he faced in the eighth inning of Monday’s game against Oakland.

Cishek began last season as the Mariners’ closer and totaled 25 saves, but also blew seven save opportunities and was demoted in August to an eighth-inning role.

Still, Cishek finished the 2016 season with 2.81 ERA in 64 innings pitched. His presence in the bullpen will be a welcome one.

“We’ll try to ease him back into it, try to get his feet under him, so to speak,” Servais said. “It’s been a while since he’s been here, but glad to have him back. Obviously, he means a lot to our bullpen. Had a nice year last year. Obviously, that’s another arm down there that we can match up against some righties and see how he does.”

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