Follow us:

Mariners blog

Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

June 8, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Brandon Bantz gets to live the dream with Mariners today

Brandon Bantz prepares to take batting practice with the Mariners this morning. He'll make his major league debut this afternoon.

Brandon Bantz prepares to take batting practice with the Mariners this morning. He’ll make his major league debut this afternoon.

Just a few weeks back, Brandon Bantz was a sub-.200 hitter in Class AA with what looked to be a very limited professional future in baseball. Now, because of organizational circumstances and Mariners roster decisions, Bantz will make his major league debut today as a starting catcher.

He’ll be part of a battery with Joe Saunders, one of the handful of Seattle pitchers he hasn’t caught yet, given his time with others in the minors.

No, it isn’t a perfect arrangement. Unless, of course, you happen to be Bantz, whose unusual story isn’t likely to happen to too many others. But Jesus Sucre isn’t healing as fast as the Mariners had hoped and today was placed on the 15-day DL. That means the initial plan to use Kelly Shoppach once again today was shelved and Bantz inserted in the lineup, knowing that Shoppach faces a long workload ahead.

“He tested everything yesterday and it’s not what we had hoped or even anticipated,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Sucre.

Carlos Triunfel is back up from AAA to take Sucre’s MLB spot.

With Sucre, there are supposedly no broken bones in the hand. But there is likely a deep bone bruise and also some type of ligament soreness, Wedge said, that’s making it difficult for him to even catch a ball, let alone swing a bat.

As for Bantz, the team will see how he does today and make decisions based off of that.

If he’s an absolute disaster behind the plate, then the team will have some decisions to make.

They’ve been running Shoppach into the ground and using him as an everyday ¬†catcher when he should be a two-day-per-week backup at this stage in his career has taken a huge toll on his hitting numbers. A month ago, he was hitting .264 with an OPS of .843.

Now, after the team stopped playing Jesus Montero and made Shoppach a de facto No. 1 guy, then with the latest Sucre injury after Montero’s demotion, Shoppach is hitting .194 with a .629 OPS.

Now, the team looks for defense first from its catchers, as do many clubs. But when you’ve got so many black holes permeating the Mariners’ lineup on a routine basis, adding one more in Shoppach isn’t going to help matters.

Last I checked, I was told the Mariners had a real solid-hitting catching prospect down in AAA. Guess he’s not ready yet. For now, the Mariners are struggling to stay afloat at the catching position until they can find a legit everyday guy who is ready.

 

 

 

 

Comments | More in roster | Topics: brandon bantz; jesus sucre; kelly shoppach; eric wedge

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►