The Mariners made a pair of roster moves before Friday's game, most notably first baseman Dae-Ho Lee being optioned to Tacoma and replaced in the first-base platoon by Stefen Romero.
The Mariners made a series of roster moves before Friday night’s homestand opener vs. the Brewers. The most notable was a change in the first base platoon where the struggling Dae-Ho Lee was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma and first baseman/outfielder Stefen Romero was recalled to take his place in the platoon with left-handed hitting Adam Lind.
The other roster move was expected. Right-handed reliever Steve Cishek was activated from the disabled list. To make room for Cishek, right-hander Joe Wieland was optioned to Tacoma.
The move to demote Lee shouldn’t come as a surprise. After his hot first half where he hit .288 with an .844 on-base plus slugging percentage, 12 homers and 37 RBI, he has been abysmal at the plate since the all-star break, hitting .109 (6-for-55) with a .446 on-base plus slugging percentage and 20 strikeouts. Pitchers have figured out ways to attack him and he simply hasn’t been able to adjust. His timing at the plate has been clearly off.
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“I haven’t got my batting right,” Lee said through interpreter D.J. Park. “My timing was a little off and I lost confidence in my batting. I wanted to help the team win games but I wasn’t participating. All season, I had confidence with my batting but lately isn’t hasn’t been as much as before.”
The plan is for Lee to join the Rainiers to get his timing and confidence back. He will likely be back on Sept. 1 when rosters expand.
“He totally understands,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’s like, ‘I need to help and do my part.'”
Romero was putting up strong numbers with the Rainiers as he has done the past few seasons. He was hitting .314 with 23 doubles, five triples, 19 homers and 80 RBI with a .922 OPS in 96 games with Tacoma. That success at the Class AAA level hasn’t transferred to the big league level where he has hit .192 with a .542 OPS in 93 games.
“This is an opportunity for him,” Servais said. “And at some point for him, you just have to take a deep breath and say, ‘What do I have to lose?’ For me that’s been our battle cry for the last month or so — just have fun and go play and let it rip.”
Romero has played in 15 games at first base this season. But most were early in the season. With the additions of D.J. Peterson and Dan Vogelbach, Romero hadn’t played first base since June 22 when he got the start on Thursday night with Tacoma – a precursor to the pending move.
“I hadn’t played it in a while,” he said. “But I know what I’m supposed to do there. You just have to be in the game on every pitch.”
Romero will also be able to play some outfield if needed late in games when a right-hander is starting. He gives Seattle some added versatility and a measure more of athleticism.
Cishek joins the bullpen after missing time with a partial tear in the labrum in his hip. He made two rehab appearances with Everett in preparation.
“He’ll help out setting up and putting him in the right spot to help us out,” Servais said. “We’ll wait and see.”
Cishek’s role will likely be to face right-handed hitters, who are hitting .153 with a .490 OPS against him this season. He could also serve as the back-up closer if Edwin Diaz is unavailable on a given night.
“You kind of game plan it every night,” Servais said. “Sometimes the plan changes through the course of the game depending on what happens with your starter and how the lineup is turning over. You want to identify early, ‘where could this guy pitch, where does this guy fit, who’s hot and who needs a day down.”