CINCINNATI — In the end, the Mariners opted Sunday not to play short-handed for even a few days while shortstop Ketel Marte recovers from a sprained left thumb.
The Mariners placed Marte on the 15-day disabled list and replaced him by recalling shortstop Chris Taylor from Triple-A Tacoma.
"Everything indicates that it shouldn’t be any longer than 15 days," manager Scott Servais said. "It’s not as bad as we originally thought. He’s certainly playing at a very high level, and we love having him in our lineup.
"But every team has to deal with this stuff. You plan for these things by having guys who can come up and fill a role. We feel we have adequate guys to step in."
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The Mariners chose to recall Taylor instead of Luis Sardinas, who was optioned to Tacoma on May 14 in order to get regular playing time after getting just 27 plate appearances in 12 big-league games.
Taylor departed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on a red-eye flight Saturday night and was in uniform — but not in the starting lineup — for Sunday’s series finale against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Utilityman Shawn O’Malley started at shortstop, but Taylor is expected to be in the lineup for Monday’s game against Oakland at Safeco Field.
Marte suffered the injury when he jammed his thumb on a slide while stealing second base in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 4-0 victory over the Reds. He is batting .276 and tracking at a plus-12 rating for the season in defensive runs saved.
Taylor, 25, arrives after batting .294 with a .374 on-base percentage in 39 games for the Rainiers. That followed a poor spring in which he lost out to Sardinas in the competition to be the club’s utility infielder.
"I worked on some things with Bro — Scott Brosius, our hitting coach (at Tacoma)," Taylor said. "One slight mechanical adjustment, and everything just kind of clicked form there.
"I have a move with my back elbow that I make that was causing me to be late (on pitches). I just moved the elbow; started with it up a little bit higher."
Taylor attributed his poor spring to an effort to implement changes in his swing while competing for a job.
"I expected to be able to come in and for it to be able to work right away," he said. "It doesn’t always work like that. I was fighting some of my old moves. That made it even more difficult. It’s something you have to go through.
"That’s actually what spring training is for, but the situation I was in — I was competing (for a roster spot). There was pressure on me to play well. That’s all part of it. I had to go through that to get to where I am now.
"Right now, I feel good. So I think it was for the best."
Franklin Gutierrez’s 473-foot homer was the signature moment Saturday in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the Reds, but it was just part of an encouraging day in what has been a season-long struggle.
Gutierrez also had a line single and appeared to have another one until second baseman Brandon Phillips, a former teammate in the Cleveland system, made a spectacular leaping stop.
"Hopefully, my swing is coming back again," said Gutierrez, who is batting just .200 in 26 games. "It’s hard because I only play against lefties. I only play once is a while. But you know, I’m trying not to put pressure on myself."
It’s been a disappointing season after Gutierrez’s career resurrection a year ago when he .292 with 15 homers and 35 RBIs in 59 games after missing all of 2014 and much of the previous three years because of medical issues.
"He really swung the bat well all day (Saturday)," Servais said. "He needed it, and it was certainly well-timed. That’s about all we got."
Gutierrez was back in the bench again Sunday when the Mariners faced Cleveland right-hander Alfredo Simon but should return to the lineup Monday against Oakland lefty Rich Hill.
"I just try to go out there and do the best that I can," Gutierrez said. "(On Saturday), I was feeling really good at the plate. A lot of good swings, and I hit some good balls."
MARTIN ATOP LINEUP
Center fielder Leonys Martin’s recent surge prompted a return to the top of the lineup for the first time since April 6. He entered Sunday at 10-for-29 in his last nine games, which raised his average from .198 to .231.
The lineup’s usual leadoff hitter, Nori Aoki, dropped to second.
"The thought behind that," Servais explained, "is Leonys is on a tear. Leonys is an accomplished base-stealer and he might create some opportunities there to push the envelope.
"I would rather have Leonys creating havoc on the bases with Nori in the box than with Robby Cano in the box."
Let’s just say the move worked.
Martin went 4-for-5 and ignited a decisive three-run fifth inning by leading off with a bunt single. His average is now up to .252.
"Just stay in my game," Martin said. "That’s all. Don’t try to do too much. Just try to get on base and see as many pitches as I can."
Lo-A Clinton right-hander Art Warren gave up two hits while pitching seven shutout innings Saturday in a 5-3 victory over Burlington (Angels).
Warren, 23, improved to 5-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.12 through eight starts. He has permitted just five earned runs and 32 hits in 40 1/3 innings while striking out 31 and walking 10.
Three of those earned runs came in a May 4 start against Fort Wayne (Padres). He has allowed one or no earned runs in each of his seven other starts.
The Mariners selected Warren in the 23rd round of last year’s draft.
It was 28 years ago Monday — May 23, 1988 — that first baseman Alvin Davis hit a homer in his fifth straight game at the Kingdome in a 14-3 romp over Boston.
Davis’ homer was a two-run shot to right field in the fourth inning against right-handed reliever John Trautwein, whose career consisted of nine relief appearances in his only big-league season.
Davis was the first player inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame when it opened in 1997. He was the only member on broadcaster Dave Niehaus was inducted in 2000 and the only player until Jay Buhner was inducted in 2004.
Saturday marked the first day this season that the Mariners and all four of their full-season affiliates won on the same day…the Reds replaced the three relievers jettisoned after Saturday’s game by promoting three right-handers from Triple-A Louisville: Dayan Diaz, A.J. Morris and Josh Smith. Diaz and Morris have never pitched in the majors…the Mariners are 7-0-1 in road series. The eight-series run is the second-longest in franchise history. A distant second. The franchise record is a 28-series run in 2000-01.
The Mariners open an eight-game homestand at 7:10 p.m. Monday with the first of three games against Oakland at Safeco Field. Right-hander Taijuan Walker (2-3 with a 2.95 ERA) will face Athletics left-hander Rich Hill (6-3, 2.54).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.
The Mariners are just 8-10 at home and earlier this season suffered a three-game sweep by the Athletics at Safeco Field. The Mariners subsequently swept a three-game series at the Oakland Coliseum.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners