July 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM
Mariners will lean heavily on catcher Henry Blanco early on
Mariners interim manager Robby Thompson has Henry Blanco, 41, in tonight’s starting lineup and says the team will lean heavily on him initially until incoming catcher Humberto Quintero, 33, gets to know the pitcher staff a bit and acclimates to Seattle.
Thompson did not confirm that Quintero is the guy, even though he’s on a plane to Seattle as a type this. The Mariners typically make sure that a new player actually physically arrives at the ballpark before officially announcing that he’s going to be added to the roster.
“Once we get him here, we’ll sit down as a group and figure that out,” Thompson said. “We’ll probably split time and do the matchup thing and go from there. Henry does know the pitchers now and he’s caught most of them, so the next guy we bring in here, we’ll pick our spots on how to break him in with our pitching staff.”
Thompson said Zunino’s injury was a tough blow for the team.
“It’s one of those freak things,” he said. “You see it throughout the years with hitters. Initially, we thought it was the issue that he had before (with his wrist) and when he flew out on that high fastball, we thought he irritated it. So did he. But as further tests went along and we got those results back, unfortunately it was the hamate bone. So, we will miss him.”
Mariners head trainer Rick Griffin said the six-week prognosis for Zunino to be out is “a ballpark figure” and that the team will know more once Zunino visits with the surgeon who will do the operation next week. Griffin said players tend to miss, on-average, 28-to-35 days.
“When they remove the bone and the sutures heal, then they can start to work to tolerance,” he said. “It just kind of depends from there how things go.”
After that, of course, Zunino would need to go out on some kind of minor league rehabilitation assignment. It likely won’t be in Class AAA since that season will be ending right around then, so he’d have to do it in some type of extended camp.