Shortstop Ketel Marte and right-hander Edwin Diaz, two of the Seattle Mariners’ top prospects, are heading to Cincinnati next month for the All-Star Futures Game.
Marte and Diaz were selected Thursday to the World roster for the July 12 game at the Great American Ball Park. The Futures Game, now in its 17th year, is played two days before the All-Star Game.
Whether Marte, 21, will actually be able to play in the game is uncertain. He is still recovering from a broken left thumb, which he suffered May 31 while playing for Triple-A Tacoma.
Marte is currently rehabbing at the organization’s year-round complex in Peoria, Arizona. Barring any setbacks, the Mariners are likely to allow him to play in the Futures Game.
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Prior to his injury, Marte loomed as a strong promotion candidate to the big-league roster. He was batting .343 in 51 games with a .394 on-base percentage and a .434 slugging percentage.
Diaz, 21, opened the season at High-A Bakersfield and went 2-0 with a 1.70 ERA in seven starts before gaining a mid-May promotion to Double-A Jackson.
After three shaky starts at Jackson, Diaz again settled into a groove: 2-1 with a 2.22 ERA in his last four starts. He is 4-4 overall with a 3.36 ERA in 14 starts and 76 strikeouts in 75 innings.
Marte and Diaz began the season ranked third and sixth on the TNT Top 10 list of the organization’s prospects. Diaz was the highest-ranked pitcher on the list.
The Futures Games features two 25-player rosters in a United States vs. the World format. Each of the 30 big-league organizations has at least one player selected for the game.
Any player in a full-season minor league is eligible for selection.
Marte is a native Dominican who signed with the Mariners on Aug. 13, 2010 as a non-drafted free agent. Diaz is a Puerto Rican native whom the Mariners selected in the third round of the 2012 draft.
So how deep are those June blues for the Mariners offense, which has produced just 62 runs in 23 games (9-14) while getting shut out five times?
Center fielder Austin Jackson is batting .288 in June with 23 hits in 80 at-bats. No other player with at least 20 at-bats is higher than Dustin Ackley’s .267.
As for the All-Star trio of Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager: pretty grim. Seager is batting .250 with two homers and eight RBIs in 22 games; Cano is .235, one and seven in 21; Cruz is .219, one and six in 21.
ELIAS ON SLIDE
Lefty Roenis Elias, after a second rough outing in three starts, has seen his ERA jump from 2.79 through his first nine starts to 4.25. He gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday in an 8-2 loss to Kansas City.
While Elias never found a groove on June 14 in a 13-0 loss at Houston, when he gave up seven earned runs in 31/3 innings, he retired the first nine batters on Wednesday before things fell apart.
“I’m not sure what happened,” he said. “Everything felt good and was working well. They just put good swings on good pitches. That’s just a bad day. I’ve just got to stay positive for the next time out.”
It was 13 years ago Friday — June 26, 2002 — that Mariners reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki registered his 100th career save by getting the final three outs in a 1-0 victory over Oakland at Safeco Field.
Sasaki reached 100 saves in his 160th career game, which made him the fastest to get to do so in major-league history. He also remains the Mariners’ all-time saves leader with 129.
The Mariners opened a nine-game road trip Friday with the first of three weekend games against the Angels in Anaheim, California.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker (5-6, 4.94) will face Los Angeles right-hander Garrett Richards (7-5, 3.66) in the opener. The game can be seen on Root Sports and heard on 710 ESPN.
The trip continues with two games at San Diego before concluding with four at Oakland. The Mariners return July 6 to Safeco Field for a seven-game homestand prior to the All-Star Game.