Seattle Mariners

Mike Zunino might not be recovering as fast as Mariners hoped

Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, right, smiles as he talks with relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, left, during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Friday, March 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino, right, smiles as he talks with relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, left, during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Friday, March 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) AP

Injuries and roster moves. The Mariners had a few nuggets of those varieties before their afternoon matchup in Minnesota.

Start with injuries.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said they’re slowing down some of catcher Mike Zunino’s recovery efforts from what he had said was a minor strain of his oblique. Zunino was in Tacoma this week taking light swings and catching a simulated game.

“Our medical people just want to give him some more time before just firing him out there,” Servais told reporters. “So that’s where we’re at.”

Zunino had said he felt better each day in trying to join the Mariners’ lineup for the first time this season, but he didn’t speak with a lot of confidence.

“We’ll see,” Zunino said, when asked if he felt he’d be ready by the end of his stint on the 10-day disabled list. He could be activated on Saturday.

“It’s day-by-day. It’s one of those things where each day I’ve felt better. So that’s the biggest thing. I think if I can feel better every day, who knows what the timetable is. But to be hitting already, even at a low effort, it’s nice to be out there.”

Servais said that Nelson Cruz (sprained ankle) has most of the swelling out of his ankle and he could begin baseball activity in the coming days. He’s eligible to return from the DL on April 11.

Instead of starting at Triple-A Tacoma, as originally planned, outfielder Ben Gamel (oblique) was shipped to high Single-A Modesto in warm California. That kept him from rehabbing in rainy Tacoma.

And Ariel Miranda was scheduled to start for Triple-A Tacoma on Friday, but he, too, was sent to Modesto for warmer climates. Miranda is lined up to join the Mariners on April 11 when they need to add a fifth starter to their rotation. Josh Smith will take Miranda’s place in the Rainiers’ rotation.

Rainiers roster changes

Tacoma also released veteran catcher Tuffy Gosewisch and recalled Rainis Silva from extended spring training to add catcher depth behind Garrett Kennedy. Kennedy was only added to the Rainiers roster when David Freitas was sent to the Mariners to fill in for Zunino.

The Rainiers also officially added a familiar name – 18-year-old shortstop Cesar Izturis Jr., the son of former MLB All-Star and Gold Glove shortstop Cesar Izturis. He’ll be their backup infielder while Taylor Motter is with the big-league club.

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
Twitter: @TJCotterill
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