Sucre replaces Buck as Mariners’ backup catcher

SEATTLE — Catcher Jesus Sucre hopes to last a little longer than 11 days now that he’s back in the big leagues.

The Seattle Mariners, as expected, recalled Sucre, 26, from Class AAA Tacoma prior to Tuesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field. The move follows the late Monday decision to designate catcher John Buck for assignment.

The move is viewed by club officials as a major defensive upgrade over Buck as a backup to starting catcher Mike Zunino.

“He’s proven he’s a solid backup catcher who receives the ball well and blocks well,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He pretty much just shuts down the running game. “

Sucre threw out 21 of 41 opponents attempting to steal bases in Tacoma.

“I’ve been working really hard with my defense down there,” Sucre said “especially with my footwork and throwing the ball to second.”

Further, his bat figures to be no worse than a push; Buck batted .226 in 27 games with one homer and six RBI.

“That was always the point of concern coming through the minor leagues,” McClendon said. “But he’s actually, in talking to people at the Triple-A level, swung the bat extremely well.

“I think he’s going to be a plus in that department.”

Sucre, who bats and throws right-handed, arrives after batting .274 in 48 games for the Rainiers with two homers and 16 RBI. He was batting .375 over his last 10 games.

Sucre (whose name is pronounced SUE-cray) made his major-league debut last season with the Mariners and made eight starts before suffering a left wrist injury on June 4 that ended his season.

“I had a little fracture last year in my hand,” he said, “and I couldn’t get back.”

The Mariners acquired Sucre, a Venezuelan native, by signing him as a minor-league free agent on July 19, 2011. He spent the previous six-plus seasons in the Atlanta system.

In corresponding moves, the Mariners promoted catcher John Hicks to Tacoma from Class AA Jackson, and activated Steve Baron at Class Hi-A High Desert and promoted him to Jackson.

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