Seattle Mariners

What happened to former All-Star Jayson Werth? He was just added to Triple-A Tacoma

Washington Nationals' Jayson Werth walks back to the dugout after a workout before Game 3 of the National League Division Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)
Washington Nationals' Jayson Werth walks back to the dugout after a workout before Game 3 of the National League Division Series baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks) AP Photo

The Seattle Mariners already have 44-year-old 10-time All-Star Ichiro Suzuki in their outfield.

And now they have 38-year-old (almost 39) former All-Star and World Series champion waiting at Triple-A Tacoma.

Jayson Werth, that the long-haired, bearded outfielder formerly of the Washington Nationals, is now a Rainier.

Werth was signed near the end of March he’s since stayed in Arizona for extended spring training. He was a mainstay with the Nationals for the past seven seasons and he helped the Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series in 2008.

“Looking from afar, he’s been on winning teams, he knows how to play, he controls the strike zone very well, good veteran presence in the clubhouse and he was looking for an opportunity to extend his career,” Mariners manager Scott Servais had said. “We felt we could get him some at-bats at the Triple-A level.”

Werth had hit 229 home runs in his 15 seasons, including 21 homers two seasons ago before his seven-year, $126 million deal expired last fall. He was coming off an injury-riddled 2017 season in which he hit .226 with a .715 OPS in 70 games.

Werth missed almost three months with a broken left metatarsal after fouling a ball off his foot in early June.

But the make room for Werth and left-hander Roenis Elias — who was acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox on Monday — two players had to go. Kentwood High School graduate Matt Hague and right-hander Josh Smith were released from their minor-league contracts.

Hague, 32, went from Covington to Oklahoma State before being drafted by the Pirates in the ninth round in 2008. He’s a career .300 hitter with a .379 on-base percentage and .429 slugging percentage in the minor leagues.

He was off to a slow hitting start with the Rainiers, batting .226 in 17 games (12-for-53) but he also had a .419 on-base percentage because he had walked 19 times.

Hague hasn't appeared in the majors since 2015, when he hit .250/.400/.333 in a brief 10-game stint with the Blue Jays.

But how does Werth fit?

He is one of eight outfielders listed on the Rainiers’ roster. Yes, eight – for three starting spots.

Speedy 26-year-old Ian Miller has manned center field and his batting .302. And then there's Guillermo Heredia — since the Mariners decided to option him on Sunday — but all indications point to him experiencing a short stay before returning to Seattle.

The Mariners also claimed 27-year-old Cameron Perkins off of waivers from the Phillies this offseason and he’s starting to tear it. He’s batting .366 (26-for-71) and has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games (including seven of those being multi-hit games).

Then there’s 27-year-old John Andreoli, 30-year-old veteran Kirk Nieuwenhis, and 19-year-old Sebastian Ochoa and 27-year-old Zach Shank, though Andreoli and Shank are currently on the disabled list.

And without Hague, the Rainiers are now without a first baseman on the roster, though they do have Taylor Motter.

In case you're curious, Werth has played one game at first base in his major league career.

Healy healed?

Ryon Healy could return to the Seattle Mariners any day now.

The first baseman went 1-for-3 with a two-run single in his fourth game with Double-A Arkansas in his rehab assignment as he recovers from a sprained ankle.

Servais said last week that Healy might return to Seattle after as many as four games and in four games. Healy has now played four games with Arkansas and has had a hit in each game (5-for-15, HR, 6 RBI).

“Getting Ryon some at-bats, I thought it would be good to get his timing down,” Servais told reporters Tuesday. “He was off to a slow start here. He was starting to pick it up before he got hurt but he’s been out a little while so we want to get him enough at-bats so when he comes back he can feel good about his swing and help us out right away.”

Healy was 1-for-21 to start the season before a bases-clearing double against the Twins on April 7. That was his final swing before he sprained his ankle in a postgame workout that landed him on the 10-day disabled list.

On tap

Right-hander Felix Hernandez (2-2, 5.06 ERA) starts the final game of the series against veteran RHP James Shields (1-2, 6.17 ERA) in a 11:10 a.m. start on Wednesday at Guranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

The game will televise on Root Sports and broadcast on 710-AM radio.

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