By John Boyle
After being shut out three times in their past six games, the Mariners have called up one of their most productive minor-league bats, recalling infielder Nick Franklin from Class AAA Tacoma. Outfielder/DH Logan Morrison was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring, retroactive to April 15.
The Mariners declared an open competition at shortstop during spring training between Franklin and Brad Miller, with Miller winning the job, but since going to Tacoma, Franklin has hit .395 with three doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI in 11 games. He’ll bat sixth and serve as the designated hitter in Wednesday’s game at Texas.
What role the Mariners have in mind for Franklin beyond this game remains to be seen. There was talk that he could be used in the outfield with Tacoma, but he split time between shortstop and second base with the Rainiers. It seems unlikely the Mariners would give up on Miller, who is off to a slow start, but perhaps Franklin will see some time there if manager Lloyd McClendon thinks Miller needs a break.
Franklin also could spell Kyle Seager at third, though his background is primarily as a middle infielder, and he could also play some second base if the Mariners wanted to occasionally use Robinson Cano as a DH to rest his legs. The Mariners are still unsettled in the outfield, but Franklin’s lack of playing time there would seemingly make him a defensive liability, and if the Mariners liked the idea of moving him to outfield to get his bat in the lineup, you’d think they’d have played him there during his time in Tacoma.
The Mariners also put pitcher Blake Beavens on the 15-day DL with shoulder tendinitis after he lasted just four innings in Tuesday’s game. Outfielder James Jones was recalled from Tacoma to take Beavens’ place on the roster, though Jones’ stay will likely be a brief one barring another injury, because the Mariners will need to find another starting pitcher for Sunday’s game, which was scheduled to be Beavens’ next start.