One day after trading Welington Castillo the Diamondbacks in the Mark Trumbo deal, the Mariners have called up catcher Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Tacoma while designating outfielder Justin Ruggiano for assignment.
Acquired from the Cubs over the winter, Ruggiano is batting just .214/.321/.357 with two home runs and three RBI over 81 plate appearances this season. However, he has produced an .823 against left-handed pitchers, which is basically what he was brought in for. Rickie Weeks has been worse in part-time duty, but the Mariners decided to keep him around instead.
The 33-year-old Ruggiano is making a $2.505 million salary this season, but he could draw some interest on the trade front.
Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, one day after suffering a right ankle sprain while legging out an infield grounder.
Jackson originally hoped to avoid the disabled list, but Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that he wasn’t expected to be ready in two or three days and they didn’t want to go short-handed. Justin Ruggiano is expected to handle the majority of the playing time in center field during his absence.
Jackson is off to a slow start this season, batting just .242/.294/.326 with two home runs and four RBI over 25 games.
In addition to placing Jackson on the disabled list, the Mariners brought up infielder Chris Taylor and relievers Mark Lowe and Joe Biemel from Triple-A Tacoma while designating left-hander Mike Kickham for assignment and placing outfielder Julio Morban on the restricted list for personal reasons.
Seth Smith is back in the Mariners’ lineup for Saturday night’s game against the Athletics after nursing a groin injury, but manager Lloyd McClendon is making another alteration. Per Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, Nelson Cruz will “play his share of outfield”.
The Mariners signed Cruz, who led the league in home runs with 40 last season, to serve as their DH. Smith was to platoon with Justin Ruggiano in right field. However, McClendon would like to have Smith’s bat in the lineup without taxing him physically by playing him on defense with his groin injury.
McClendon said of Cruz, “I just need to be smart about when I put him out there and make sure he stays healthy throughout the year.”
Cruz seems to be okay with the change in plans. “DH is boring,” Cruz said.