Seattle’s Ben Gamel (right) smiles at teammate Dee Gordon during the eighth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., on July 29. (Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

Seattle’s Ben Gamel (right) smiles at teammate Dee Gordon during the eighth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., on July 29. (Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

M’s Gamel, Segura return in time for big Houston series

Seattle sent down outfielder Guillermo Heredia and reliever Matt Festa to clear room on the roster.

By TJ Cotterill

The News Tribune

The Seattle Mariners now need all the reinforcements they can get ahead of a three-game series with the Houston Astros, one day after securing an ugly series loss to the Los Angles Dodgers with a 12-1 defeat.

So they’ll have All-Star shortstop Jean Segura back after activating him off of the paternity list on Monday.

They’ll also have outfielder Ben Gamel, who has raked against Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .349 batting average in 21 games and is batting .290 with a .360 on-base percentage in 72 games for the Mariners this season.

To make room, the Mariners optioned outfielder Guillermo Heredia to Triple-A Tacoma and right-handed reliever Matt Festa back to Double-A Arkansas.

Gamel was optioned on Aug. 1 despite hitting .338 with the Mariners over his previous 49 games before the move. But the Mariners preferred to keep Heredia for his defense and right-handed bat after adding Cameron Maybin in a trade from the Miami Marlins, though it’s not like Gamel is a bad defensive option, just not as skilled as Heredia.

Now the Mariners need offense. They were outscored 27-7 this past series against the reigning National League champions.

And they need wins, trailing the Athletics by 3.5 games and the Astros by 4.5 games.

So here’s Gamel after Heredia, who started the season strong, has batted .172 with a .217 on-base percentage since June 1. Since Gamel was optioned, Heredia has batted .147 with a .171 on-base percentage in 14 games.

The Mariners can expand their roster to 40 players on Sept. 1.

Segura spent the past three days on the major-league paternity list with his wife giving birth to their child. He’s batting .314 this season and went 4-for-5 in two of his past three games.

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