The Mariners Friday placed catcher Mike Zunino on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured hamate bone in his left hand. GM Jack Zduriencik said that a corresponding roster move to fill Zunino’s roster spot will be made before Friday night’s game with the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field.
The 22-year-old Zunino fractured the bone on an RBI single to left field in the second inning of Thursday’s 8-2 victory over the Twins. He remained in the game for three more innings before being removed. Zunino’s injury was confirmed by an MRI exam Friday morning.
Zunino was scheduled to see a Mariners team doctor later Friday, and will undergo surgery early next week. Zunino is expected to miss approximately six weeks.
The backup catcher is Henry Blanco, who was signed June 14 after the release of Kelly Shoppach. He caught 15 games for Toronto and was released June 11. At 41, Blanco was a once-a-week catcher and a mentor to Zunino, but was never expected to be an everyday catcher.
The club’s original starter, Jesus Montero, was sent down to AAA Tacoma to learn to play first base and is no longer catching.
Since his promotion from AAA Tacoma June 12, Zunino has appeared in 29 games, batting .242 (24-for-99) with four doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs. In his last 11 games (July 8-25), Zunino hit .324 (11-for-34) with two doubles, a home run, six RBIs and seven walks. He reached base safely via hit or walk in 10 of the 11 games, and had driven in the game winning RBI in each his past three starts.
The Mariners and Indians play the second of their four-game series starting at 7:10. Felix Hernandez (11-4, 2.43), who has won six consecutive decisions and will be seeking his 12th victory, goes for Seattle opposite LHP Scott Diamond (5-9, 5.53), who is coming off a six-run pounding by Cleveland.