Injured catcher Steve Clevenger was suspended by the Mariners for the remainder of the season without pay Friday in response to his comments Thursday on Twitter regarding racial unrest.
"As soon as we became aware of the tweets posted by Steve (on Thursday)," general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement, "we began to examine all of our options in regard to his standing on the team.
"Today we have informed him that he is suspended for the reminder of the season without pay."
The suspension effectively amounts to a fine of $33,868 from Clevenger’s salary of $516,500. He is not expected to appeal the suspension. He will be eligible for arbitration this winter if the Mariners choose to retain him.
Clevenger, 30, drew heavy criticism on social media after posting two tweets on his personal account in response to the racial tensions that surfaced after incidents in Charlotte, N.C., Tulsa, Okla., and elsewhere.
He specifically criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and blamed President Obama for the inflaming the situation.
His first tweet: "Black people beating whites when a thug got shot holding a gun by a black officer. Haha (stuff) cracks me up! Keep kneeling for the Anthem!"
And later: "BLM is pathetic once again. Obama you are pathetic once again! Everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals."
The Mariners responded shortly thereafter by distancing themselves from Clevenger’s comments and promised to review all internal options to formulate a response.
Friday’s suspension might only be the first phase of that response.
The Mariners are likely to release Clevenger at a later date, and Major League sources suggested he faces long odds to remain in the game. His teammates generally expressed surprise at Clevenger’s comments but declined comment.
Manager Scott Servais said the Mariners held a "get-together" Thursday night to discuss the matter after the club’s charter flight landed in Minneapolis.
"A few of the guys knew what had happened," he said. "Obviously, a lot of guys are on social media and could see what’s up there. I don’t anticipate it being a distraction.
"We’ve got 10 games to play, and we know what’s at stake and where our focus needs to be — that’s on playing a good ballgame tonight and beating the Twins. It’s unfortunate. It surprised a lot of people, but we’ve got games to play."
Clevenger apologized late Thursday for the tone of his comments by saying they were "worded beyond poorly at best" and were intended to lend support to law-enforcement officials.
He said he was "sickened by the idea that anyone would think of me in racist terms," and asked "that the public not judge me because of an ill-worded tweet."
Clevenger is currently on the 60-day disabled list. He batted .221 with one homer and seven RBIs in 22 games before suffering a broken finger when hit by a foul tip in a June 29 game against Pittsburgh at Safeco Field.
After undergoing surgery, Clevenger appeared poised to return to active duty in September before he suffered an elbow injury during the rehab process.
The Mariners acquired Clevenger from Baltimore in a Dec. 2, 2015 trade for first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo and relief pitcher C.J. Riefenhauser.
Justin Hollander is the Mariners’ new Director of Baseball Operations. He was hired Friday as a replacement for Caleb Peiffer, who left the club to attend law school.
Holland, 37, spent the last nine seasons working the the Los Angeles Angels in various roles. His most-recent position was director of player personnel, which focused on roster composition, contract negotiations and research.
Third baseman Joe Rizzo, the Mariners’ second-round pick in the June draft, was picked by Baseball America as the No. 17 prospect in Arizona Rookie League after batting .291 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 39 games.
While Peoria won the championship, Rizzo was the only Mariner cited by Baseball America in ranking the league’s top 20 prospects.
"Rizzo flashes an average arm," the magazine reported, "which is enough to handle third base. A hard-nosed grinder, he has good feel for the barrel and good bat speed. He showed a little power this summer."
It was 21 years ago Saturday — Sept. 24, 1995 — that Tino Martinez hit a two-run walk-off homer against Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley for a 9-8 victory at the Kingdome.
Martinez’s homer enabled the Mariners to complete a three-game sweep and gave them a two-game lead in the American League West Division. The Mariners went on to capture the first division pennant in franchise history.
The Mariners entered the weekend looking awaken their attack. They had scored two or fewer runs in six of their previous seven games…the Mariners’ bullpen entered Friday with 509 strikeouts, which ranked second in franchise history to the 535 posted by the 2013 club…the Mariners entered the series with a 219-212 all-time record against the Twins. They have a winning record against only one other American League opponent: Tampa Bay at 88-73.
The Mariners and Twins continue their three-game series at 4:10 p.m. Pacific time Saturday at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Rookie left-hander Ariel Miranda (5-1 with a 3.88 ERA) will face Minnesota right-hander Tyler Duffey (8-11, 6.39). The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on the Mariners Radio Network, including 710 ESPN.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners