SHANNON DRAYER

Drayer: Why Mariners are sending Jonatan Clase back to Triple-A

Apr 29, 2024, 12:22 PM | Updated: 5:59 pm

Seattle Mariners Jonatan Clase...

Jonatan Clase of the Seattle Mariners runs the bases against Colorado on April 20, 2024. (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

(Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners have optioned outfielder Jonatan Clase to Triple-A Tacoma and recalled utility player Sam Haggerty ahead of their series opener Monday with the Atlanta Braves, ending a two-week look at a very interesting M’s prospect.

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When left fielder Dominic Canzone suffered an AC joint strain crashing into the wall on a tremendous play in a game against the Cubs, there was much speculation who would be called up to take his place on the Mariners’ 26-man roster. There were outfielders in Tacoma with big league experience, and the option of calling up an infielder was there as well. Instead, the Mariners went with the 21-year-old Clase, who had played just 12 games above Double-A at the time.

Clase’s call-up was a surprise to most, but with the team struggling out of the gates, president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto decided to take a chance and see if Clase could provide a spark.

“Clase is a switch-hitter, he gives us something in the electric category,” Dipoto explained on his Wheelhouse podcast after the move, “and he may or may not be ready for the challenge that we’re throwing at him. But he is the type of guy that for three days or three weeks could conceivably give us that kind of energy, that just changes the way you feel about coming to the ballpark every day, and we need that a little bit.”

While the spark is tough to quantify, the team that was 6-10 on the day Clase was called up went on to win nine of the next 12 games with Clase on the roster. Clase appeared in nine games, posting a slash of .222/.250/.259 (.509 OPS) over 29 plate appearances, driving in three runs, stealing two bases and walking once while striking out nine times.

Mariners manager Scott Servais found plenty to like about Clase but acknowledged there was also plenty to be learned.

“He’s a very young player,” Servais said. “We needed a little shot in the arm. He did that and I think he’s got things to work on. He’s a learner. You can see him asking the right questions, listening to the right players and what they’re talking about. He’s got a very bright future ahead of him. He’s still got room for growth.”

Haggerty rejoins the team after starting the season on the injured list with a medical issue. In 16 games with the Rainiers, he has hit .333/.412/.367 (.779).

While he provides some insurance in the infield while shortstop J.P. Crawford is likely to miss a month with an oblique strain, the bulk of his playing time will come in the outfield.

“We like Hags against the lefties,” Servais said. “He’s had pretty good track record getting on base, creating havoc on the bases when he gets on, so you’ll see him in left field against left-handed pitching.”

The American League West-leading Mariners (15-13) play the first of three games against the National League East-leading Braves (19-7) at 6:40 p.m. Monday. Mariners Radio Network coverage will air on Seattle Sports 710 AM, the Seattle Sports app and SeattleSports.com beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the pregame show. It will be the first time the M’s square off against outfielder Jarred Kelenic since an offseason trade sent him to Atlanta. For details on how to stream Mariners broadcasts from Seattle Sports, click here.

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