Mariners activate Michael Saunders, send Jesus Montero back to Triple-A

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Jesus Montero’s latest stint in the big leagues was a short one, as the Mariners have demoted the one-time top prospect back to Triple-A to make room for outfielder Michael Saunders’ return from the disabled list.

Saunders missed three weeks with a strained shoulder and comes back after going 9-for-20 during a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A. He’ll resume playing regularly in the Mariners’ outfield after hitting .265 with four homers and a .741 OPS in 52 games before the injury, more or less matching his production from the past two seasons.

Montero got just 14 at-bats during this latest call-up and wasn’t especially impressive at Triple-A, so his status in the Mariners’ long-term plans is definitely shaky at age 24. Billed as one of the elite hitting prospects around while in the Yankees’ farm system, he’s hit just .252 with 19 homers and a .672 OPS in 169 games for the Mariners since coming over in a deal for Michael Pineda.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.