Zunino being called up by Mariners
Mike Zunino, the third player selected in the 2012 Draft, is being called up by the Mariners on Tuesday to help bolster their short-handed catching situation, according to sources.
The move comes after Jesus Montero and Jesus Sucre both suffered recent injuries, leaving veteran Kelly Shoppach as the only experienced catcher available.
Shoppach, 33, has caught 54 of the 61 innings since Sucre hurt his hand last Tuesday, including every pitch in a 16-inning marathon on Wednesday.
Brandon Bantz, Zunino’s backup at Triple-A Tacoma, was promoted last week and started one game Saturday as the club initially thought Sucre’s absence would be temporary. But Sucre went on the 15-day disabled list Saturday when little progress was being made on his right hand after he’d been hit by a bat on a backswing.
Zunino, 22, has hit .238 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs in 47 games for Tacoma this year, with a .303 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage.
Zunino was drafted out of the University of Florida last year and is regarded as one of the premier catching prospects in baseball.
Montero opened the season as Seattle’s starting catcher, but was demoted to Tacoma two weeks ago and then underwent surgery this past week after tearing the meniscus in his right knee. He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
Zunino is flying from Las Vegas to meet the Mariners and is expected to arrive in time to be available for Tuesday night’s game against the Astros. No roster move will be made official until then and the club still hasn’t officially announced anything.
It seems likely that Bantz will be sent back down to Tacoma to make room for Zunino and provide some help for a Rainiers team that is thin at catcher as well, with Jason Jaramillo, a 30-year-old journeyman with three at-bats for the Rainiers being the only backstop on that roster at the moment.