Who knew that C Mike Zunino’s bat would carry him back to the major leagues? He’s joining the Mariners Tuesday as they begin an eight-day road trip in Washington, D.C., but mostly because the veteran combo of Carlos Ruiz and Tuffy Gosewich is nearly helpless at the plate.
Zunino in AAA Tacoma is hitting .293 with seven runs, two doubles, 11 RBI in 12 games since his demotion. Three of his five home runs have come in his last two games. He opened the season in Seattle hitting .167 (12×72) in 24 games. Meanwhile, Gosewich, 33, claimed off waivers from Atlanta Jan. 26, is 2×28 (.071) since his callup from Tacoma, and Ruiz, 38, is 6×45 (.133) this season.
Gosewich was sent down to the Rainiers, as were 1B Dan Vogelbach and RHP Chris Heston.
Both were emergency fill-ins Sunday in the 8-1 loss to Chicago that ended a 3-4 home stand. Heston took the loss after giving up seven earned runs in three innings, and Vogelbach was up because 1B Danny Valencia injured a wrist Friday during a slide. But the injury apparently was not serious if Vogelbach, who went 1×3 with an error, is no longer needed.
The Mariners also called up RHP Emilio Pagan, 26, for the bullpen. Pagan had two saves and 3.24 ERA (6 ER, 16.2 IP) with 21 strikeouts in 10 relief appearances with Tacoma. During his first stint with Seattle May 2-6, he had a 16.88 ERA (5 ER, 2.2 IP) with two strikeouts and a walk in two relief appearances.
The Mariners will go with Christian Bergman (1-1, 2.25 ERA) at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday in Washington, the first of three in the nation’s capital, where showers and thunderstorms are in the week’s forecast.