Former first-round pick D.J. Peterson was designated for assignment as part of the roster shuffle
On most Sunday mornings after a night game during the season, the Mariners clubhouse is a quiet place with players sipping coffee and trying to wake up while several others are at the chapel services offered. Baseball players are not morning people.
But this Sunday morning, the volume and energy was at an unusually high level.
“There was a little bit of life,” manager Scott Servais said.
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Well, Leonys Martin and Erasmo Ramirez are back with the team. Both players bring a fair amount of energy and volume with their personalities. The two additions to the active roster were part of a series moves on Sunday morning.
- Leonys Martin, OF, selected from AAA Tacoma.
- Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, added to the Mariners active roster.
- Mitch Haniger, OF, placed on the 10-day disabled list with a facial laceration.
- Cody Martin, RHP, optioned to AAA Tacoma (post-game 7/29).
- D.J. Peterson, INF, designated for assignment.
The move with Ramirez was expected after the Mariners re-acquired him in a trade with the Rays for reliever Steve Cishek. The diminutive right-hander will join the rotation and start on Tuesday against the Rangers in Arlington. Seattle originally signed Ramirez as a free agent out of Nicaragua in 2007. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2012 and appeared in 47 games in a Seattle uniform before being traded to the Rays before the 2015 season.
“I’m just happy to be back for sure,” he said. “I’m going back to the place where everything started. I couldn’t believe it. I got traded back to the team that traded me. It was funny. I’m happy to go to a familiar place.”
Ramirez is 4-3 with a save, six holds and a 4.80 EERA in eight starts and 18 relief appearances this season.
“I learned a lot,” Ramirez said of his time with Tampa. “I used my changeup more, but at the same time don’t be afraid to throw the other pitches no matter who is hitting. Everything was about attacking the hitters, no matter who it is. Execute. That’s what matters. That’s what I want to continue here.”
The move for Martin became necessary when starting right fielder Mitch Haniger took a 95 mph fast from Jacob deGrom off his mouth in Saturday’s win over the Mets. Haniger suffered a severely lacerated upper lip and was removed from the game.
“Mitch may come in here today once (the media) is all out of here,” Servais said. “He sent a picture over last night. He looks pretty rough, like he went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson or something. He’s doing okay. His spirits are good. He knows he was lucky and it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Haniger had a procedure to repair the lip immediately that required some staples and stitching to fix the damage.
“Nothing broke,” Servais said. “Luckily at the last second, he just got his cheek turned enough. But he will be back. There’s no doubt about that. The doctors that looked at it and said it wasn’t as bad as first anticipated. I can’t imagine it won’t be at least a couple of weeks on the short end of it.”
The expected lengthy absence for Haniger made the Mariners opt for Martin over Boog Powell. Martin, who was the Mariners opening day starter in center field the last two seasons, struggled so much in April that he was designated for assignment. After clearing waivers, he was outrighted to Tacoma and has been playing there ever since.
Martin got emotional talking about his path back to the Mariners.
“It’s been difficult,” he said. “It’s a tough a process, missing these guys here, who are fighting for a playoff spot and being in Triple A. But I went down to Triple A with the mentality of working and knowing I would make it back one day.”
After making some unsuccessful swing changes in the offseason that led to inconsistency in spring training and early in the season (.111 batting average in 15 games), Martin went through the daunting task of trying to re-find something that worked. It took time and patience, but led to results. He was hitting .312 with an .858 on-base plus slugging percentage, 24 doubles, five triples, 11 homers, 39 RBI and 24 stolen bases with the Rainiers.
“You saw the numbers,” he said. “I was just trying to have quality at-bats. I just tried to show up every day with the same mentality to compete and play hard. They knew it was a tough process for me. I tried to forget about everything that happened. I was like, ‘Look, this is the situation and I have to deal with it. Let’s do this. Just play hard, forget everything and do what you love to do and be who your are.’ That was my mentality. I tried to show up every day with a good energy and a good attitude to play baseball.”
The decision to designate Peterson for assignment wasn’t a complete surprise considering there was some debate as whether he needed to be placed on the 40-man roster in the offseason to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft. But the Mariners decided to put the former first-round pick from the 2013 draft on the 40-man and hoped he would finally blossom as a hitter.
Like in past seasons, he showed hints of it this year. He hit .264 with a .737 on-base plus slugging percentage, 17 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 54 RBI in 103 games for the Rainiers. The Mariners have 10 days to either trade, waive or outright Peterson to the minor leagues. It seems unlikely that Peterson will clear waivers. Some team will take a chances on his power-hitting potential. But if he were to clear waivers, the Mariners could then outright him to Tacoma.
Manager Scott Servais switched up his batting order, moving Ben Gamel to the leadoff spot and Jean Segura to No. 2 for Sunday’s series finale vs. the Mets. It’s a way to break up the run of three of four lefties in the middle of the order with Gamel, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager in the typical order.
“They have three lefties in their bullpen,” Servais said. “This is something I’ve been thinking for a while. It makes them think a little bit. Otherwise it lines up as a nice little pocket with three out of four hitters in the middle of our lineup being left-handed. I don’t think it will deter anybody but it makes them think more how they are going to handle it and maybe Segura gets to face a few more lefties because of it.”
Infielder Tyler Smith was claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers. Smith was designated for assignment on Friday to make room Ramirez. Smith hit .239 with 13 doubles, six home runs and 28 RBI in 84 games with Class AAA Tacoma this season.