Mariners catcher Mike Zunino has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, the club announced Friday. Zunino reportedly sustained the injury during batting practice on Wednesday and had yet to make his season debut for Seattle. At this point, it’s not clear exactly how long his recovery process will take.
The 27-year-old was pegged to be the Mariners’ starting backstop again this season. He made a strong showing in camp with a .395/.458/.791 batting line and five home runs in 17 Cactus League games with the club. This is the first time he’s landed on the disabled list in five years, when he missed six weeks of the 2013 season after undergoing wrist surgery. It’s possible that his oblique injury won’t require such a lengthy recovery; then again, MLB.com’s Greg Johns points out that both Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel were sidelined between 4-6 weeks with similar injuries. Either way, it’s clear the Mariners will have to get creative as they try to compensate for his loss.
A corresponding move was made to recall catcher David Freitas from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. The Mariners also have rookie Mike Marjama waiting in the wings, though neither catcher has Zunino’s extensive major league experience behind the dish. Marjama took the reins on Thursday and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout against the Indians’ Corey Kluber. Freitas is expected to join the team on Saturday and will likely make his first start of the season sometime afterwards.