The Seattle Times’ Larry Stone reports that Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak will go on the bereavement list following a death in his family.
The Mariners have yet to make it offical, but they do have backup catcher Chris Gimenez listed as their starting first baseman for Wednesday’s game versus Detroit.
Mike Carp would be the logical choice to come up and fill in at first base for the club, but he’s off to a horrible start in Triple-A, having hit .093/.235/.163 with two RBI in 43 at-bats. For that reason, Matt Tuiasosopo could well be the choice instead.
Smoak, who was the main return in the Cliff Lee deal with the Rangers last year, has been the Mariners’ best player so far. He’s batting .291/.403/.491 in 55 at-bats. He hit his second homer last night in the loss to the Tigers.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.