Who’s on first for the Mariners?
For now, their first choice at first base is their third catcher.
Set to make his Mariners’ debut, Jacob Nottingham was in the lineup batting sixth and starting at first base for the first time in his major league career for Friday’s series opener in San Diego.
A week ago, the Mariners placed their top two options at first base — Gold Glove winner Evan White (hip flexor) and designated hitter Ty France (left wrist inflammation) — on the 10-day injured list.
On Thursday, they designated for assignment fill-in first baseman Jose Marmolejos.
That leaves a temporary opening at first until France can return — and Mariners manager Scott Servais sounded encouraged about France being able to come off the injured list when he’s eligible early next week.
“I do think on a positive note, Ty France is moving along. He’s feeling much better,” Servais said Friday afternoon. “He did take some swings off the tee in the cage before we left (Seattle) to come to San Diego. He’s going to get a light workout in (Friday), so that is progressing along and hopefully he can join us at some point during the road trip. And he would play a bunch of first base, obviously.”
Nottingham, 26, was claimed off waivers Thursday by the Mariners for the second time in the past few weeks. The Mariners claimed him off waivers from Milwaukee on April 28. He did not appear in a game with the M’s before being traded back to the Brewers on May 2 for cash considerations.
Nottingham is a catcher, but he did make one appearance as a first baseman for the Brewers in 2019 — for a mere five outs — and Servais said Nottingham played about 50 games at first during his minor-league career.
“Predominantly he’s been a catcher, but he can swing the bat. He’s got some power,” Servais said.
In 14 at-bats this season for the Brewers, Nottingham had three hits — two of which were home runs. His last at-bat was May 9 as pinch-hitter. He struck out.
Through the weekend, Nottingham’s backup at first base — the backup to the backup’s backup’s backup — will be another newcomer, 34-year-old journeyman Eric Campbell, nine days after he was signed to a minor-league deal.
Campbell played four games with the Class AAA Rainiers over the past week, collecting six hits in 17 at-bats (. 353) with one double and four RBIs.
Torrens remains ‘a big part of our future’
Luis Torrens, for now, won’t make the return trip to San Diego with the Mariners.
Torrens was a key piece the Mariners acquired in the trade of Austin Nola to the Padres at the trade deadline in 2020. Torrens has struggled early this season, prompting his demotion to Tacoma on Thursday.
Jose Godoy was called up to take Torrens’ roster spot, and he will split time at catcher with Tom Murphy.
Servais said he had a long conversation with Torrens earlier this week, and he promised publicly Friday that the 25-year-old catcher would be back with the Mariners at some point.
“Through my lens, I really thought his offense was starting to affect his defense — and that’s always very concerning,” Servais said. “… Luis is a big part of our future here, and he will be back to help us. But sometimes you need to unplug. He’ll go to Tacoma and kind of reset. He’ll share playing time down there with (top catching prospect) Cal Raleigh.”
Torrens was in the Rainiers lineup on Friday night — scheduled to start at first base.