Austin Jackson CF
Will Rhymes 2B
Don Kelly RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Brennan Boesch DH
Ryan Raburn LF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Brandon Inge 3B
Phil Coke LHP (1-2, 2.25)
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley LF
Jack Cust DH
Miguel Olivo C
Brendan Ryan SS
Jack Wilson 2B
Chris Gimenez 1B
Michael Saunders CF
Doug Fister RHP (0-3, 3.86)
As you can see by the lineup, Chris Gimenez is playing first base today, which was the first sign that something unusual was afoot. The second sign was the presence of Carlos Peguero, the 24-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, in the clubhouse.
It turns out that first baseman Justin Smoak flew home to South Carolina earlier in the day to be with his father, who is ill. The Mariners put Smoak on the bereavement list, which allows them to call up a replacement for a minimum of three days, and a maximum of seven. They recalled Peguero, who is off to a sizzling start with Class AAA Tacoma (.311, nine runs, three doubles, two homers and seven RBIs).
Smoak has been the Mariners’ most consistent hitter this year, but manager Eric Wedge stressed the team will give him all the time he needs.
“That’s something I’m so respectful of,” he said. “When it comes to family, everything is secondary as far as I’m concerned. When he contacts us and lets us know how things are going, we’ll go from there.”
Wedge said he plans to get Peguero into the lineup soon. Gimenez and Adam Kennedy are likely to share the time at first base while Smoak is out.
“He was very impessive in spring training,” Wedge said of Peguero. “We had a lot of young players I was very impressed with in spring training, and he was right up there at the top of the list. He’s very athletic for a big guy; he gets up there and doesn’t get cheated. He’s aggressive. I think he has a chance to be a pretty good all-around player.
“Early on, it’s always tough to make moves, but sometimes it’s out of necessity, as such here. He’s off to a nice start. More than likely it’s something short term, but you never know. We’ve seen young ballplayers parlay that, too.”
Peguero said he was home with his roommates this morning when Tacoma manager Daren Brown called him and told him to report to Cheney Stadium. There, he was told he’s coming up. Peguero, who throws and hits left-handed, has been in the Mariner system since 2005 and is considered one of their leading power prospects. He hit 31 homers in 2009 for Class A High Desert and 23 last year for Class AA West Tennessee.
“I’m excited about to get the opportunity to be here and help the team,” he said. “I’m swinging real well, working hard on my swing, and that’s why I’m here. I’ll continue to work on it.”
Peguero added that being called up to the majors “is a dream come true for me, my family, my friends, the people who care about me. It’s something I’m really excited about.”