Mariners notebook: Chris Taylor up but Brad Miller to continue to get bulk of starts at shortstop
OAKLAND, Calif. – Chris Taylor is up and he is in the lineup for the Mariners in the opener of their four-game series against the A’s.
“We just felt Taylor was at the point where he was playing consistent baseball down there at Triple-A and I think to a man we thought he was a better option from a standpoint of fielding, throwing at this juncture, hopefully hitting and the ability to play a lot of positions,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of the move.
That said, letting Willie Bloomquist go was not an easy thing for McClendon, who managed Bloomquist in fall ball in his earliest days as a pro.
“He was a joy to be around then and has been a joy to be around ever since. We have a lot of history together,” McClendon said. “He’s done so much for this organization. He’s great in the clubhouse, his work ethic second to none. It is always tough when you got to let the good guys go.”
Brad Miller remains the primary shortstop but Taylor will get starts against some lefties.
“Chris will see time at short against the real tough lefties like (Oakland’s Scott) Kazmir,” McClendon said. “It gives Brad a break, he doesn’t have to face those types of guys and continue to feel good about his at-bats. A guy like Kazmir can sometimes put you in a funk.”
McClendon did something similar with Miller and Taylor last September and although it is a small sample it seemed to benefit Miller. He hit .352/.375/.968 over his final 22 games played that year.
Austin Jackson, CF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Franklin Gutierrez, LF
Mark Trumbo, RF
Logan Morrison, 1B
Mike Zunino, C
Chris Taylor, SS
Roenis Elias, LHP
• The blister that ended Hisashi Iwakuma’s last rehab start must not be too serious as he was able to throw a bullpen session Thursday. That could set him up to start on Sunday but the decision on his return and the corresponding move or moves has yet to be finalized. “We’re close. Maybe tomorrow we will have answers for you,” McClendon said.
• With Bloomquist being designated for assignment, the 40-man roster is now at 39 but most likely will not stay at 39 for long. Reliever David Rollins, A Rule-5 pick who has been on the restricted list since being suspended, must either be added to the 40-man roster Saturday or offered back to to the Astros. In six appearances with the Rainiers, he has thrown 7 1/3 innings with six hits, no runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
• The Mariners have signed catcher Erik Kratz to a minor-league contract. Kratz started the season with the Royals and played four games before being put on the disabled list with a foot injury. He was designated for assignment on June 20 after returning from his rehab assignment and was claimed by the Red Sox, who assigned him to Triple-A Pawtucket. He declined the assignment and became a free agent. He will report to Tacoma Thursday.
• Justin Germano and Rafael Perez have opted out of their minor-league deals and are now free agents.