Likely supplanting the flailing Brad Miller at shortstop, Nick Franklin was called up Tuesday and joined the Mariners in Texas for a two-game series. To make room, the Mariners put another flailing starter, DH Corey Hart, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
Franklin was held out of Sunday’s game with AAA Tacoma in anticipation of the move and traveled Monday after the Mariners left Minnesota.
At spring training, Miller won the starting shortstop job over Franklin, who was displaced from second base after the free-agent signing of Robinson Cano. In Franklin’s first call-up from Tacoma April 16-23, he seemed to justify the decision by going 2-for-16.
But in 30 Rainiers games, he hit .376 with 21 runs scored, seven doubles, seven home runs and 26 RBI. In 19 games since he was sent down, Franklin batted .364 with 12 runs, four doubles, three home runs, 13 RBI and 17 walks (1.049 OPS).
Miller, meanwhile, is nearly helpless at the plate. In the 24 games since April 18, he is hitting .097 (7×72) with six runs, two doubles, five RBI, seven walks and 21 strikeouts. This, after hitting .265 in his rookie callup in 2013.
Hart, 32, stole second base Sunday unchallenged, but strained his hammy just before sliding and left the game immediately. He was diagnosed with a grade 2 strain Monday in Seattle.
In 37 games, Hart hit .209 (29×139) with five doubles, five home runs and had 17 RBI. He missed the 2013 season after undergoing a pair of knee surgeries. He joins Logan Morrison, the Mariners’ other offensive acquisition in the winter besides Cano, on the sidelines. He also has a hamstring strain.