Mariners call up Justin Smoak, place Michael Saunders on the disabled list

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Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders is headed back to the disabled list. Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Saunders has been diagnosed with an oblique injury, which he suffered on a check-swing in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game against the Twins. Saunders was previously on the disabled list between June 11-27 due to inflammation of the A/C joint in his right shoulder.

Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that it’s a Grade 2 oblique strain. According to manager Lloyd McClendon, “it’s going to be a while” before Saunders can get back on the field. Saunders had been performing well for the Mariners prior to his bout with the injury bug. In 219 plate appearances, he slashed .276/.327/.434 with six home runs and 28 RBI.

In a related move, the Mariners have called up Justin Smoak from Triple-A Tacoma. Smoak went on the disabled list on June 10 with a strained left quad and was optioned to Tacoma on July 4 after having rehabbed for two weeks there. In 19 games at Triple-A, Smoak hit three home runs with an .824 OPS in 74 plate appearances.

Smoak struggled at the big league level, slashing .208/.282/.361 with seven home runs and 28 RBI over 241 plate appearances.

Players’ offer reportedly not going over well with owners

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Last night it was reported that the Players Union had made an offer to Major League Baseball and the owners regarding plans for a 2020 season. The offer, which was in part counteroffer to the owners’ previous offer, part new proposals of its own, involved a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, a playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season over health concerns, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

How’s that sitting with the owners? Not great, folks.

Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported this morning that the owners want a shorter schedule than the 114 games the players proposed, likely because they want to increase the odds that they can get to a postseason before a potential second wave COVID-19 outbreak occurs, as many experts expect it will. The owners also, not surprisingly, still want salary reductions, which the players have not addressed due to their contention that the matter was settled. Drellich says that the players’ offer “hasn’t been rejected yet but that’s inevitable.”

Bob Klapisch of the Newark Star-Ledger is more blunt:

The sides are, as Drellich notes, still talking. It would appear, however, that the owners tack of negotiating through the media is continuing on as well.