By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Friday was another day of comings and goings for the Seattle Mariners, as the club brought Class AAA Tacoma catcher Jesus Sucre and infielder Carlos Triunfel up while also designating infielder Robert Andino for assignment.
Manager Eric Wedge immediately put Sucre into the starting lineup against the Texas Rangers.
“I wanted him to get right in there,” Wedge said. “Sucre has been with us for a little while now in the organization, and he made quite an impression on all of us in spring training. I think the best thing is to get him right in there.”
Sucre wasn’t feeling too many butterflies before his big league debut.
“I think it’s normal,” he said. “I just want to go there and do my job, do the best I can.”
Triunfel already had traveled with the Rainiers to Reno, Nev., before he got the call back to Puget Sound. He was still in the air when Wedge filled out his Friday lineup. However, the manager indicated Triunfel will get his chance soon and regularly.
“He impressed me last September,” Wedge said. “He impressed us again this spring, and has been pretty good down (in Tacoma). He’s played most of his time there as shortstop, so he’ll play shortstop for us, but he’ll also play some second base and third base. He’s not going to be playing every day, but he’s going to get at least some semi-regular playing time.”
Triunfel, 23, was hitting .300 with 44 RBI over 44 games with the Rainiers. He started 34 games at shortstop, nine at second base and one at third.
He appeared in 10 games with the Mariners last season, hitting .227 with two doubles and three RBI.
Sucre, 25, originally was signed by the Atlanta Braves as an international free agent in 2005. He joined the Mariners organization as a minor league free agent in 2011. He hit .253 over nine minor league seasons with 21 home runs. He also threw out 42.4 percent of attempted base stealers.
Triunfel takes the place of Andino, who had hit .184 over 29 games.
Less pressure for Montero
Sucre fills the opening created by the Thursday move that sent catcher Jesus Montero from Seattle to Tacoma.
“I think he needed to go somewhere where he can get his swing back and his stroke back and take the big-league pressure off of him,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said of Montero. “I think everyone in this organization has seen last year — as a 22-year-old rookie, 15 home runs; and watch some of the balls he’s hit this year — I think we’ve seen some very, very nice flashes out of him.
“We just haven’t seen the consistency that we’d like to. So we take the pressure of being an everyday catcher off of him, and give him the chance to catch, first base and DH. We’re anxious to see how that works out.”
Zduriencik said any pressure on Montero to learn the new position of first base should be offset by his ability to do so in the relative privacy of the minor leagues.
“It was tough on Montero,” Wedge said. “But he’s a young man who needs to go to Triple-A and work on his game. It happens to almost everybody where you have to take a step back for two steps forward, as the cliché says. It will hurt him for a while, but he’s shown how tough he is up here.”