Mariners notebook: Zduriencik turns focus to trades
By Shannon Drayer
We had a full three-ring circus going during batting practice at Safeco Field Wednesday. In addition to the usual Yankees contingent (tons of extra personnel plus guests), a number of Seahawks were in the house, including Russell Wilson and Russell Okung. Tom McNamara and other members of the Mariners’ scouting department were also on the field along with someone I had been hoping to catch up with for a while, general manager Jack Zduriencik.
Zduriencik spent a good amount of time talking with manager Lloyd McClendon at the batting cage and then some time with the Wilson and Okung. It has been some time since we have seen Zduriencik at Safeco and he hasn’t been on the recent road trips, either. It occurred to me recently that he must be on the road checking out a number of players on the Mariners’ draft board, which turned out to be the case. Zduriencik’s travels included a trip to the Dominican Republic to see second-round pick Gareth Morgan, who was playing there with the Canadian Junior National Team.
With the draft behind him, things don’t slow down at all for Zduriencik. There are drafted players to sign, including top pick Alex Jackson, and the trade deadline up next on the calendar. While it is still early – the market has yet to develop with most teams still within fighting distance of wild-card spots – the phones are starting to ring.
Earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that Zduriencik was trying to acquire pitching. That’s not surprising with the struggles they have had with the fifth spot in their rotation. The pitching is not the only focus, however.
“We’re going to try to do what we can right now to improve our club,” Zduriencik said. “There’s a couple areas where we can do that. Obviously, you can look at an offensive player, you can look at a pitcher. I think we’ve struggled in our fifth slot in our rotation this year, and that’s no secret.”
Zduriencik pointed out that he believes they have a couple of guys who are not too far away from being ready to help, but in the meantime you don’t know what is out there unless you ask. In his mind there are definite needs but a number of ways the club can be helped.
“We’re not going to put all our eggs in one basket,” he said. “We’re going to keep ourselves open to options. I think we’ll always look long term. We want to help ourselves short term, but we’re not going to cut off our nose to spite our face. You have to be realistic about where we’re at.
“There’s nice things happening here. But you always have to keep the big picture in mind. Would we like to do something? We will make and are making every phone call possible. We’ll look at every option. At the end, there’s a price to pay acquiring a player and we’ll just make the best assessment at that point.”
Smoak heads to DL
First baseman Justin Smoak was put on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a strained left quad. The move is retroactive to June 10 and he will be eligible to come off the DL on June 25.
Smoak has been taking batting practice but running has been a problem. McClendon believed that the quad was affecting Smoak’s swing from the right side and that the progress since being taken out of the lineup was occurring “at a snail’s pace.”
“It’s going to get better but he’s been out for five days and he’s probably going to be out for another four or five days. That’s nine days without playing. It just didn’t make sense,” McClendon said.
The plan is for Smoak to continue to receive treatment this week, and if he progresses enough he’ll be sent out on a rehab assignment the following week.
Logan Morrison was activated to take Smoak’s place on the roster.
• After Wednesday’s game the Mariners announced that OF Michael Saunders has been placed on the 15-day DL with inflammation in his right AC joint. A corresponding roster move will be made before the game Thursday.
• Macklemore Bobblehead Night is Thursday. The first 30,000 through the turnstiles will receive one.