PEORIA, Ariz. — Say the Mariners want to rest Robinson Cano or give him a partial day off by having him serve as the designated hitter. Who plays second base? Utilityman Willie Bloomquist or long-time second baseman Rickie Weeks.
“That’s a good question,” manager Lloyd McClendon parried. “I have that option (between Bloomquist and Weeks). I don’t have the answer. I could use either one. Obviously, it would depend on who’s pitching and how they match up against that guy.”
Weeks hasn’t played second base this spring but spent his 12 previous professional seasons playing no other position. McClendon said he’d have no hesitation in putting him back at second.
“It’s like riding a bike,” McClendon said. “You get back on and pedal.”
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Bloomquist has made the three spring starts at second base but Monday marked his first game action at shortstop. It effectively serves as the final test in his recovery from surgery last Aug. 9 on his right knee.
“It is an important step,” McClendon said. “I think his legs are under him a little bit more now. He’s feeling a lot better.”
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One impact of Chris Taylor’s broken right wrist is the Mariners summoned infielder Tyler Smith from minor-league camp to make his second start in four days.
Smith started Monday at second base against the Angels in Tempe; he started at shortstop last Friday against the Rangers in Surprise. Smith spent most of last season at Hi-A High Desert.
Wondering why Smith got the call over Ketel Marte, who ranks No. 3 on the TNT Top 10 and is expected to start this season at Triple-A Tacoma? (Marte was optioned to Tacoma prior to last Friday’s game.)
Simple: Marte is on the 40-man roster. If he gets hurt, he goes on the major-league disabled list and draws a major-league salary while also accumulating service time.
Smith isn’t on the roster. He would be placed on the minor-league DL while drawing a minor-league salary. That is also why players such as Jack Reinheimer and Leury Bonilla gained recent call-ups.