The Mariners Thursday recalled DH/1B Jesus Montero from AAA Tacoma after placing OF Michael Saunders Wednesday on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. The 24-year-old Montero was available to the club Wednesday when it plays the final of three games against the New York Yankees at Safeco Field.
With regular 1B Justin Smoak on the disabled list, Montero will DH against lefties, manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters before the game. Logan Morrison was scheduled to start at first with Stefen Romero at DH.
“Hopefully he gives us a little added punch against left-handers,” he said. “He’ll most likely DH.”
Asked about playing first, McClendon said, “I would doubt it. But there’s an outside chance.”
When it was mentioned that Montero has hit one homer in his last 79 games, McClendon said sarcastically, “Sounds like he should hit fourth.”
After failing as a catcher and fading as a hitter, Montero was sent to Tacoma last year, then was suspended for 50 games for his part in the Biogenesis PED scandal.
After reporting to spring training 40 pounds overweight, thoroughly disgusted GM Jack Zduriencik said he had “given up hope” that Montero would ever become a productive major league player.
Montero hit .270 (60×222) with 15 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 40 RBIs and a .800 OPS in 59 games with the Rainiers. In his last 10 games (May 31-June 11), Montero batted .343 (12×35) with seven runs, five doubles and five RBIs with a .425 on-base percentage and a .911 OPS.
Saunders, 27, appeared in 52 games. He hit .272 (40×147) with six doubles, three triples, four home runs and 25 RBIs. He left the game June 6 after two at-bats, and had played just one game since. In 16 games from May 16 to June 3, Saunders hit .368 (21-for-57) with three doubles, two triples, three home runs, 18 RBIs and a .391 on-base percentage (1.040 OPS).
The Mariners (34-31), who have dropped two in a row, throw RHP Roenis Elias (5-4, 3.64) against RHP Chase Whitley (1-0, 2.42).
Lefty Nick Kiel of Bellevue College, an Everett native, and infielder Taylor Smart, from Maple Valley and played at University of Tennessee, were among three draftees signed by the Mariners Thursday. Also signing was third round pick Austin Cousino.