Mariners recall Mike Zunino, Nori Aoki as Felix Hernandez returns

Jul 20, 2016, 10:16 AM | Updated: 10:24 am

Outfielder Nori Aoki is back with the Mariners after hitting .369 during a 16-game stint with Tacom...

Outfielder Nori Aoki is back with the Mariners after hitting .369 during a 16-game stint with Tacoma. (AP)


LISTEN: Scott Servais on Felix Hernandez returning to the Mariners

The Mariners made a handful of roster moves this morning in addition to activating ace pitcher Felix Hernandez from the 15-day disabled list, also recalling catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Nori Aoki from Triple-A Tacoma.

The corresponding moves were to option reliever David Rollins, outfielder Daniel Robertson and catcher Jesus Sucre to Tacoma.

Hernandez is set to pitch this afternoon against Chicago (12:40 on 710 ESPN Seattle), which will mark his first start since he sustained a calf strain on May 27.

“It means everything to us,” manager Scott Servais told “Brock and Salk” this morning when asked about getting Hernandez back from his injury. “Obviously, it’s been a crazy season for us. Those of you who have followed us closely, it’s been a roller-coaster ride and the tailspin, we started to go down a little bit obviously right around the time that Felix went down. So the value of starting pitching and running that guy out there every fifth day and knowing what you’re going to get, and more importantly, the competitiveness and what he brings to our club.”

General manager Jerry Dipoto said recently that Zunino and Aoki would be back with the big-league club sooner rather than later, so the decision to recall them was not unexpected.

Zunino appeared in two games with the Mariners earlier this month, hitting a pair of home runs before he was optioned back to Tacoma in order to ensure that he could still see regular playing time.

Aoki was optioned to Tacoma on June 24, when the Mariners needed an extra arm in the bullpen and wanted the 34-year-old to work out the issues he has been having against left-handers. Aoki was hitting a career-low .245 when he was sent down and hit .369 in 16 games with Tacoma.

“Aoki has been down for a few weeks. Hopefully he can spark us a little bit, just do what he does, get on base, slap the ball around, create a little energy,” Servais said. “We face a right-hander today, so it’s a good chance to get him in there.”

Miguel Gonzalez is pitching for the White Sox in the rubber match of the three-game series. Servais said shortstop Ketel Marte will be out of the Mariners’ lineup again due to an illness. He called it a “really bad cold virus.”

“He had a high temperature that came in yesterday,” Servais said. “He’s actually down about five or six pounds, feeling terrible. We do have him on some antibiotics, got some IV fluids in him. He’ll be at the ballpark today. He’s not going to be in the lineup today, but he will travel with us tonight over to Toronto and hopefully he’ll be OK when he gets over there.”

Brock and Salk podcast

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Partly Sunny
High 63° | Low 47°
Mariners are on the road.
Mariners at Orioles today at 4:05pm

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford...

Zac Hereth

Mariners Injury Updates: Crawford, Polanco still out — here’s why

Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford didn't travel with the team to Baltimore. Jorge Polanco also remained out of the lineup.

1 hour ago

Seattle Mariners players J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodríguez...

Zac Hereth

Ranked: 5 Seattle Mariners who need to step up

Seattle Sports' Mike Salk breaks down the five Seattle Mariners who could help the team most by stepping up their game.

3 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Nelson Cruz...

The Associated Press

Former Mariners great Nelson Cruz has a new job with MLB

Former Seattle Mariners All-Star Nelson Cruz will focus mainly on Latin American topics that include increasing player relations for MLB.

4 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Luke Raley...

Stacy Rost

Rost on Mariners: What we’ve learned a quarter through the season

Just over a quarter of the way into 2024, the Seattle Mariners are 24-20. What have we learned? Stacy Rost breaks down a few things.

6 hours ago

Seattle Mariners...

Zac Hereth

First-place Mariners face powerful Orioles: 3 things to know

A breakdown of the Seattle Mariners' three-game series against a Baltimore Orioles team that is among the best in the AL.

8 hours ago

Seattle Mariners first baseman Ty France...

Zac Hereth

Mariners the ‘team to beat’ in AL West? Why that’s now the case

MLB insider Jon Morosi explains why this is the best spot the Seattle Mariners have been in years with Seattle Sports' Wyman and Bob.

22 hours ago

Mariners recall Mike Zunino, Nori Aoki as Felix Hernandez returns