The Mariners insist Zunino hasn't suffered a setback in his recovery from an oblique strain but that they're just playing it safe.

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MINNEAPOLIS — The hope of Mike Zunino rejoining the Mariners in Minnesota on Saturday when he was eligible to return from the disabled list has been extinguished.

Manager Scott Servais said that Zunino, who is recovering from a Grade 1 oblique strain, won’t be joining the team this weekend as expected.

“We are probably going to slow Zunino down just a bit,” Servais said. “Our medical people just want to give him just a little bit more time instead of just firing him out there.”

Servais was adamant that Zunino didn’t suffer a setback in his recovery.

“This is just to be safe instead of sorry, just slow him down,” Servais said. “We still hope to get him back soon. Based on where the temps have been here and how he’s feeling, we’ll tap the brakes a little.”

Speaking of cooler temperatures, the Mariners decided to have Ben Gamel (oblique strain) start his rehab assignment with Class A Modesto in Lancaster instead of playing with Class AAA Tacoma on Thursday night. With rain and cold forecasted for Tacoma, the Mariners moved Ariel Miranda to Class AA Arkansas so he could stay on his normal schedule and be ready to pitch on April 11 when the Mariners need a fifth starter. As of now, Erasmo Ramirez (lat strain) will start for Tacoma on Saturday to begin his rehab assignment.

The reports for Nelson Cruz (ankle sprain) are positive. Cruz has almost all the swelling out of his ankle and should begin baseball activities in the next few days. The Mariners are still hopeful he will be ready to be activated from the disabled list when they return home to face the Oakland A’s on April 13.

Daniel Vogelbach the DH

Daniel Vogelbach will likely see plenty of time at designated hitter over the next six games. The Mariners might try to get a rest day for Robinson Cano or Kyle Seager at the DH spot. But Vogelbach should get the bulk of the starts.

On Thursday, he went 2-for-4 with a RBI double, driving in the only run of the game for the Mariners in a 10-1 loss.

“Vogey has (a) track record of controlling the zone,” Servais said. “That’s what he does . He swings at strikes. He has a good feel of what he’s doing in the box and what the pitcher is trying to do to him. He hit a couple of balls very well. Really from the beginning of spring training, that’s been his approach and he’s been aggressive. He’s got power to all parts of the field. He gets a chance here. He’ll be DHing the next few games.”