By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
ARLINGON, Texas — As expected, infielder Nick Franklin rejoined the Seattle Mariners prior to Tuesday’s game to replace injured designated hitter Corey Hart on the 25-man roster.
Hart was examined Monday in Seattle by the club’s medical director, Dr. Edward Khalfayan, and the news wasn’t good: Hart has a grade-2 strain of his left hamstring.
“My understanding is he’s out four-to-six weeks,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We’ve got to find (a DH). We don’t have one. Franklin is DHing (Tuesday). I think we’d all agree he’s not a typical DH.”
The Mariners were close to recalling Franklin from Class AAA Tacoma last week in hopes of finding a spark for their struggling offense. They held off when Franklin experienced some back soreness.
“I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and had a little stiff neck and a stiff back,” Franklin said. “Got some treatment, and I’m ready to roll. No problems.”
Franklin was 2-for-16 over seven games in a previous promotion in April but returns after batting .376 for the Rainiers with seven homers and 26 RBI in 30 games.
The Mariners’ DH problems are exacerbated because Logan Morrison continues to make slow progress in his recovery from a strained right hamstring suffered more than five weeks ago.
Morrison took part Tuesday in the simulated games thrown by James Paxton and Taijuan Walker but remains less than 100 percent while running the bases.
“It’s just (a matter) of getting back at it,” he said, “and trying to remember — it’s weird to say this — how to run. You just kind of feel uncoordinated when you haven’t done it in a while. It’s a little different when you go from the elliptical and then try to sprint outside. I’m trying to get the feel back.”
Morrison remains hopeful that he’ll be ready for a rehab assignment by the end of the week, but club officials caution he must show improvement in running drills before he is ready for game competition.