Mike Zunino exited last night’s game after taking a foul ball off his left hand and the Mariners catcher has been diagnosed with a fractured hamate bone.
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Zunino is expected to miss six weeks, meaning the rookie is no sure thing to play again this season.
Zunino was called up on June 12 despite hitting .238 with a horrible strikeout-to-walk ratio (albeit with lots of power) at Triple-A and the former No. 3 overall pick has predictably struggled in the majors, hitting .242 with two homers and a .659 OPS in 29 games while striking out 26 times compared to nine walks.
Seattle released Kelly Shoppach to make room for Zunino last month, leaving 41-year-old Henry Blanco atop their catching depth chart for the moment.
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.