ARLINGTON, Texas — Can Nick Franklin jump-start the Seattle Mariners’ stagnant offense? We’re about to find out.
The Mariners recalled Franklin before Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers after he batted .395 with four home runs an 13 RBIs through 11 games at Triple-A Tacoma.
“I had a great start in Tacoma,” he said, “and I’m looking forward to getting here, start winning some games and to just play.”
He had a great start with the Mariners, too, hitting a triple in his first at-bat Wednesday, then scoring their first run on Mike Zunino’s single.
The Mariners cleared space for Franklin by placing outfielder/designated hitter Logan Morrison on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring. Franklin got the word Tuesday after Tacoma’s win against Salt Lake.
In a subsequent move, the club recalled outfielder James Jones from Tacoma after placing pitcher Blake Beavan on the DL because of right shoulder tendinitis.
The latter move leaves the Mariners without a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game in Miami. The top candidates appear to be right-hander Brandon Maurer and left-hander Anthony Fernandez, who are with the Rainiers.
“I’m worried about tonight,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said before Wednesday’s 3-2 loss. “We’ll deal with tonight, and we’ll work on Sunday when Sunday gets here.”
McClendon had Franklin as the designated hitter Wednesday but said that won’t be normal for the switch-hitter, who hit .225 for Seattle last season with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 102 games.
“Nick will play and move around,” McClendon said. “Probably (Thursday), he’ll play second. Robby (Cano) will DH. We’ll give Robby a day (off from defensive duty).
“Maybe against a left-hander, (Franklin) will be in the outfield. Maybe short. Maybe third.”
Franklin, 23, has not played the outfield as a professional beyond a handful of innings in spring training, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern.
“I’m really comfortable in the outfield,” he said. “It’s a lot easier than the infield, that’s for sure. The outfield is second nature. I’ll just go out there and have fun with it, but be smart at the same time.”
Said McClendon: “You know, Nick is a former outfielder. He’s not a neophyte. It’s like riding a bike. If you’ve been out there, you get back on it and ride it again.”
Morrison was hurt while stretching before Monday’s series opener at Texas. It will prevent him from playing in Miami, where he spent the previous four seasons.
“I asked him (Tuesday), and he said, ‘I can’t run,’ ” McClendon said. “Listen, I don’t want this kid going out there at 80 percent and worrying about hurting it again — and then hurting it again.
“The best thing to do is to get it right, get it healthy and then get him back out there.”