By John Boyle
With Jesus Sucre expected to be out a few days with a wrist injury, the Mariners called up a catcher from Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday.
No, not that one.
To provide a backup catcher while Sucre is sidelined, the Mariners called up Brandon Bantz, a player who was only promoted to Class AAA two weeks ago when Jesus Montero was sent down and Sucre came up to Seattle. Mike Zunino, who spent last summer with the Everett AquaSox and is one of the top prospects in the Mariners’ organization, remains a Rainier.
So why Bantz and not Zunino?
Well maybe if Sucre was going to be out for a significant amount of time, that could have been a consideration, but considering the short-term nature of the injury, the Mariners are just looking for a temporary backup to Kelly Shoppach. And with that being the case, they’re not going to risk messing with the development of Zunino.
“We’re hoping it’s a three- or four-day deal, so that’s good news,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “… It’s a temporary move, and good for (Bantz), he’s a big leaguer. We don’t want to disrupt anybody else down there right now.”
Asked if with a player as important as Zunino, it is important to bring him up when he shows he’s ready, not when an injury forces the club’s hand, Wedge said, “That’s exactly right, yes.”
To make room for Bantz, the Mariners sent infielder Carlos Triunfel back to Tacoma. Triunfel was recently called up to replace Robert Andino, but was seeing little playing time with the Mariners, especially because of the hot bat of fellow recent call-up Nick Franklin.
To clear a spot on the 40 man roster for Bantz, the Mariners placed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on the 60-day disabled list, retroactive to April 23, which means Gutierrez is eligible to come off the DL on June 22.