As Hurricane Irma plowed into Puerto Rico and tracks for the Florida coast, Mariners closer Edwin Diaz stares at his phone and searches for details while communication lines to the island remain unreliable.
"I just try to keep in touch on twitter and social media to see what’s happening," he said prior to Wednesday’s game against Houston at Safeco Field. "I just tried to call a little bit earlier when I got to the (ballpark), but nobody responded."
Diaz said he was previously able to get in touch with his sister.
"She told me that everybody is good," Diaz said. "We live about 30 miles from the storm’s path, but we are in a safe spot. We don’t have any big trees around my house. So I think we’re safe, but we’ll see what they say when they call."
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Diaz was just 4-years-old in 1998 when Georges became the first hurricane to cut across the entire island of Puerto Rico in more than 60 years, It caused $3.6 billion in damages but resulted in no direct fatalities.
"I don’t remember much about it," he said. "So I don’t remember experiencing something like this. As far as I know, everything is good, but I don't have any communication with anybody yet.
"I’m just waiting for somebody to communicate with me. I hope everybody is good."
Hitting coach Edgar Martinez also has relatives in Puerto Rico. First basemen Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia live in South Florida.
"They’re concerned," manager Scott Servais said. "I know Eddie is worried. Edgar is worried. Our guys who are from Miami are concerned. Yonder just built a new house down there."
Diaz admitted "it’s tough" to compartmentalize that concern.
"You have to keep your mentality here," he said. "You have to do your job. If I come into the game, I have to do my job. I have to think that everything (in Puerto Rico) will be good, and they’ll be fine."
Utilityman Shawn O’Malley remained with the Mariners, at least for now, when he was assigned outright to Triple-A Tacoma after clearing waivers. It’s a paperwork transaction since the Rainiers’ season is over.
O’Malley 29, will also have the option of becoming a minor-league free agent once the big-league season concludes. It will be surprising if he chooses not to do so, although the Mariners could then pursue negotiations on a new contract.
The Mariners designated O’Malley for assignment on Sept. 2 in order to add veteran infielder Gordon Beckham to their roster. Beckham spent the year at Tacoma on a minor-league contract.
O’Malley played just 33 minor-league games this season due to a series of injuries. He required an emergency appendectomy in March and suffered a shoulder injury in the recovery process. He also suffered a concussion in August.
When O’Malley did play, he batted .235 with three homers and 10 RBIs.
60 PLAYERS WITH NO. 61 PENDING
When outfielder Jacob Hannemann gets into a game, he will become the 61st different player used this season by the Mariners. That will be the second-highest total in MLB history to the 64 used in 2014 by the Texas Rangers.
The Mariners acquired Hannemann in a Sept. 4 waiver claim from the Chicago Cubs. The previous franchise record for players used was 54 by last year’s club. The fewest was 34 in 1978.
Forty of the 60 players used thus far are pitchers, which matches the MLB record set by the 2014 Rangers. The previous Mariners record was 32 by last year’s club.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners