By Todd Dybas The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Alex Liddi trotted onto the field in the sixth inning to take over at first base on Saturday.
That was because Kendrys Morales was in the Mariners’ clubhouse getting his back looked at. It stiffened up on him on the way to first in the top of the inning, ending his day. He’s day-to-day, but was feeling better postgame.
The interesting part for the Mariners is they were in a tight game in June with the Yankees and injuries had brought these participants:
Liddi, who has spent most of the season at Class AAA Tacoma and had four major league at-bats this season, was at first and hitting third.
Brandon Bantz, who was in Class AA Jackson two weeks ago and played just three games in Tacoma, was the starting catcher.
Danny Farquhar was the first reliever out of the bullpen. It was his 10th career game.
Meanwhile, center fielder Franklin Gutierrez and relief pitcher Stephen Pryor are on the 60-day disabled list. First baseman Justin Smoak and catcher Jesus Sucre are on the 15-day disabled list. Sucre was added Saturday and infielder Carlos Truinfel was recalled to take his roster spot.
Outfielder Michael Morse just returned from a thigh strain and can hardly run.
Second baseman Dustin Ackley and catcher Jesus Montero are in Class AAA, where Montero just had knee surgery, knocking him out 4-to-6 weeks.
The possible starting pitching help that was projected to come from Tacoma if the back end of the Mariners’ rotation failed, which it has, is also limited. Danny Hultzen is still on the disabled list. Brandon Maurer was ejected from the big league rotation and is trying to get right with the Rainiers in Tacoma. James Paxton has struggled. He has a 5.73 ERA and the opposition is hitting .295 against him.
Between injuries and under-performance, the Mariners are looking at a large shift in the roster. Saturday, four starters from Opening Day — Gutierrez, Ackley, Smoak and Montero — weren’t even options for manager Eric Wedge.
In the same game the Mariners had a battery at one point of Farquhar-Bantz, which combined had played 11 major league games. The Yankees pitched Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, who have been in the big leagues for a combined 37 seasons.
“Just part of it,” Wedge said. “Like I said before, every team at some point in time goes through stretches like this when you’re not at full strength.”
M’s draft Seager
During the final day of the Major League Baseball draft, the Mariners selected Justin Seager, Kyle’s younger brother, in the 12th round. This Seager is a first baseman out of UNC-Charlotte. He’s 6 foot 4 and 195 pounds.
“His brother’s our third baseman, and that’s a great thing, but he’s a good player,” Mariners Director of Amateur Scouting Tom McNamara said. “He’s really versatile. He plays all over the place. It’s funny, he looks like him (Kyle Seager). When we first walked into the ballpark, we’re like, there’s Seager. Same mannerisms, just a little taller.
“We didn’t draft him because he’s Kyle Seager’s younger brother. You don’t take a player like that in the 12th round. He’s got those baseball instincts and baseball genes.”
Justin is expected to start with Class A Everett after signing.
Overall, the Mariners selected 16 pitchers, including eight left-handers, four catchers, 14 infielders (three first baseman, four third baseman, seven shortstops), and six outfielders. Seattle selected 27 college players and 12 high school players (one player did not have a school affiliation) during the three-day draft.
In all Seattle selected players from 15 states: Arizona, California (6), Florida (4), Georgia, Illinois (3), Massachusetts (2), Michigan, New Jersey (2), New Mexico, North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (2), Texas (3), Utah (2), and Washington (5); 2 countries: United States, Canada (2).