Second baseman Robinson Cano is on the Seattle bench as it goes for the series sweep of the Angels on Sunday afternoon at Safeco Field.
The Mariners have activated right-handed pitcher Nick Vincent from the disabled list and recalled infielder Mike Freeman from Class AAA Tacoma for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field, with pitcher Cody Martin and infielder Luis Sardinas both optioned to make roster room.
Vincent will be available in the bullpen on Sunday, while Freeman drops directly into the starting lineup in place of second baseman Robinson Cano — who is being given a scheduled day off, per manager Scott Servais.
Vincent, 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 35 games with the Mariners this season, has been out since late June with a mid-back strain and recently completed a successful rehab stint with Class A Everett.
Freeman, a 29-year-old utility man, made his Major League debut for the Diamondbacks just last month and was claimed by the Mariners off waivers on Aug. 1.
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“On the field, I play the game hard,” Freeman said when asked to describe his playing style. “I like to get dirty. I play aggressive. I love the game of baseball and like to think I play it the right way.
“I’ve always kind of adapted as needed. … I morph into whatever role is needed for the team.”
Freeman tallied his first MLB hit in the third inning of Sunday’s game, dropping a soft line drive into shallow left field. He added another in the fourth, plating Adam Lind with a two-out single to right.
Freeman nearly started his Mariners tenure 3 for 3, only for Angels center fielder Mike Trout to track down a sixth-inning fly ball deep into the gap.
“It was a bad part of the field to hit it to, with Trout playing out there,” Freeman said after the game. “He’s a heck of a player. It felt good off the bat, but you never know with him patrolling center field.”
In the minor leagues this season, Freeman has slotted in as a second baseman, center fielder, left fielder and first baseman, and Servais says the fresh call-up can also play shortstop if necessary. He replaces Sardinas, who hit .181 (13 for 72) in 32 games during three stints with the Mariners this season.
“(Freeman) can run,” Servais said. “He’s athletic. He’s a grinder. He’s maybe not as toolsy as some of the other guys who have come up, but he’s a good baseball player.
“Sardinas has had multiple opportunities to come in here and contribute and help. We just like what Freeman brings. Sardinas will go back down to Tacoma and play, and we’ll see what happens there. Keep in mind that Marte will be coming, quickly.”
Shortstop Ketel Marte is currently on a rehab assignment with the Rainiers, having been sidelined since July 17 with mononucleosis. He could rejoin the Mariners ahead of the upcoming road trip to Oakland and Los Angeles, according to Servais.
Marte has been deputized capably by Shawn O’Malley, who hit a three-run, go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of Seattle’s 8-6 win over the Angels on Saturday night. The Mariners are 14-6 in games O’Malley has started, and the 28-year-old Richland native is hitting .289 (29 for 111) with nine runs and seven RBI in 21 games since June 23.
“Hitting three-run homers and making awesome plays in the field and having the crowd chant ‘O’Malley,’” Servais said. “That’s what I see his role as going forward, just like I’ve seen it all along. What could possibly change? He’ll continue to play.
“When Marte does come back, he’s not going to play 10 consecutive days in a row or anything like that. Shawn has certainly earned the opportunity to play some shortstop. We’re going to run him in the outfield a little bit to spell some guys. He’ll continue to be a big part of our team.”
- Mariners lefty Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 4.31 ERA) will start on Tuesday night against the Tigers, a slot previously left blank in the team’s probable pitchers list. Hisashi Iwakuma (12-7, 3.99) will start the series opener on Monday night, and Felix Hernandez (6-4, 3.55) will get the nod for the finale on Wednesday.
- Seattle (56-53) is looking for its fifth sweep of three-or-more games of the season and its first since a four-game sweep of the Orioles at the beginning of last month.