Mariners Insider Blog

Mixed news for Mariners: Cruz avoids disabled list but not Segura

Nelson Cruz returned Friday to the lineup after he escaped Thursday with nothing more than a deep bruise after being hit in the left hand by a pitch from Colorado’s Kyle Freeland.
Nelson Cruz returned Friday to the lineup after he escaped Thursday with nothing more than a deep bruise after being hit in the left hand by a pitch from Colorado’s Kyle Freeland. AP

It could have been worse.

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz avoided a trip to the disabled list Friday after being hit by a pitch in Thursday’s loss to Colorado, but the Mariners lost shortstop Jean Segura because of a high right ankle sprain.

Cruz was in the starting lineup for Friday’s game against Tampa Bay at Safeco Field, while utilityman Taylor Motter, as he did in April, replaced Segura at shortstop.

"Cruzie has a bruise on his hand," manager Scott Servais said, "but everybody knows it’s tough not to put him in the lineup. He wants to play (Friday), and we’re going to give it a go."

Segura will rest his ankle for at least a few days.

"We really don’t know where he’s at yet," Servais said. "Seven days from now, we’ll have a chance to have a little better feel for that."

The Mariners made a series of roster moves prior to Friday’s game in addition to placing Segura on the 10-day disabled list.

Infielder Tyler Smith and right-handed pitcher Tyler Cloyd were promoted from Triple-A Tacoma after being added to the 40-man roster. Cloyd replaces right-hander Casey Lawrence and provides the bullpen with a fresh long reliever.

The Mariners optioned Lawrence to Tacoma because he, effectively, is unavailable for the next few days after throwing 86 pitches Thursday in relief of Yovani Gallardo.

"Casey Lawrence did a phenomenal job for us (on Thursday)," Servais said. "He really has pitched well since he’s been here, but we’ve exhausted all of his pitches. He’ll be down for a few days.

"We wanted to get a fresh arm in here, which we have done multiple times over the last few weeks to keep our bullpen afloat."

To create space on the 40-man roster for Smith and Cloyd, the Mariners shifted right-hander Ryan Weber to the 60-day disabled list and designated recently acquired outfielder Andrew Aplin for assignment.

Segura twisted his right ankle Thursday while sliding into second base in the fourth inning and needed to be helped from the field with his arms around the shoulders of trainer Rob Nodine and first-base coach Casey Candaele.

This is Segura’s second trip this season to the disabled list. He missed 12 games in April because of a strained right hamstring.

Motter batted .289 with five homers and 12 RBIs in those 12 games as Segura’s replacement in April, but he entered Friday with a .167 average over his last 28 games. He also has no homers and just three RBIs in that span.

"He’s got some power, obviously, to the pull side," Servais said. "We’re trying to get him to understand (he needs) to use the whole field to be a tougher out.

"He’s going to get a chance to play here for an extended period, but I don’t want to run him out there five or six days in a row. You will see Tyler Smith out there as well."

Right fielder Ben Gamel replaced Segura as the lineup’s leadoff hitter. Gamel carried a .390 on-base percentage into Friday’s game.

Smith, 25, was batting .265 with a .344 on-base percentage in 50 games at Tacoma. An eight-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, he saw extensive time this spring while Segura and Robinson Cano took part in the World Baseball Classic.

Cloyd’s promotion completes an unlikely return journey to the big leagues. He was 4-9 with a 5.98 ERA over 19 games in 2012-13 for Philadelphia but began this season at Somerset in the independent Atlantic League.

The Mariners signed Cloyd, 30, to a minor-league deal on May 12 and sent him to Tacoma, where he allowed two earned runs in 16 1/3 innings over four starts.

Weber, 26, suffered a strained right biceps in May 13 start at Toronto after being promoted earlier that day from Tacoma. The Mariners acquired Aplin, 26, from Houston in a trade for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners