The Seattle Mariners once again had to make a few roster moves on Sunday. The latest shuffling was to make room for starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman, who wasn’t on the 25-man and 40-man roster.
One of the moves came as a bit of a surprise, while the other unfortunately wasn’t.
To make room for Bonderman on the active roster, Justin Smoak was placed on the 15-day disabled list as his recovery from a strained oblique seemed to stall.
That move was unexpected since manager Eric Wedge had hoped to start Smoak on Sunday at first base or designated hitter.
“I was hopeful,” Wedge said. “But we dove into a little deeper and had multiple conversations with him. He just doesn’t feel comfortable with it to the point where we can move forward. We had to make a move today, and with (Michael) Morse’s situation, we felt it was better to keep our players and put him on the DL.”
The disabled list stint is retroactive to May 30 when Smoak appeared as a pinch hitter against the Padres. He’s eligible to come off June 14.
“The last two or three days it’s just stayed the same,” Smoak said. “It hasn’t really taken a step forward and hasn’t taken a step back. It’s just stayed the same. The first couple days were encouraging and I was thinking it wasn’t going to be that long. But it’s stayed the same.”
Smoak still feels a slight tightness in his left side, and it’s limited him from taking any swings left-handed.
“Left-handed I haven’t been able to do much,” Smoak said. “I don’t want to go out there and be just a right-handed hitter and a righty gets on the mound and they have to take me out.”
Smoak suffered the injury when he was a minor leaguer with the Texas Rangers and missed over a month. He’s trying to be cautious.
“I’ve done it before,” he said. “I’d rather be out a little over a week then a month and a half.”
Smoak won’t swing a bat for three or four days and continue treatment.
Catricala was hitting .253 (44-for-174) with eight doubles, three homers and 21 RBI in 48 games in Double A Jackson. Two years ago in 2011, he was named the Mariners Minor League player of the year after hitting .349 with 48 doubles, 4 triples and 25 homers with 106 RBI with High Desert and Jackson. He had an outstanding spring training before 2012, but then struggled last season both at the plate and in the field at Triple A Tacoma, hitting just .229 with 23 doubles, 10 homers and 60 RBI. Besides not having a true position, Catricala had been passed by players like Stefen Romero.
The Mariners now have 10 days to either release, trade or outright Catricala.
Martinez returns to Detroit
Minor league outfielder Francisco Martinez, who was designated for assignment last week to make room for Nick Franklin, has been traded back to the Detroit Tigers for either a player to be named later or cash.
Martinez was part of the contingent of players, including outfielder Casper Wells, reliever Charlie Furbush and reliever Chance Ruffin that were sent to Seattle in exchange for pitchers Doug Fister and David Pauley in 2011
The trade, which rates as the worst of general manager Jack Zduriencik’s tenure with the Mariners, has yielded minimal benefits for Seattle.
Only Furbush, who has become a lefty specialist out of the bullpen, is with the big league club. Ruffin, who was once thought to be a future closer, struggled and is being converted to a starter with Double A Jackson. Wells was designated for assignment during spring training.
Martinez was considered to be promising third base prospect with projected power. But it never materialized during his time in the Mariners organization. This season he was converted to outfield to take advantage of his superior speed. He was hitting .206 (26-for-106) with six doubles and five RBI in 34 games with Jackson.