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

Category: catchers
July 26, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Mike Zunino anxious to get on with recovery, learning process

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Mariners catcher Mike Zunino says he’s anxious to get on with his surgery and the recovery process from the broken hamate bone in his left hand. Zunino said no date has been set for next week’s surgery as of yet, but there is plenty he can still learn while sidelined.

“It’s frustrating but it’s another thing that you just have to learn to deal with as a player,” he said. “It’s one of those things that takes nothing away from the team. The team did a great job last night and hopefully they continue to do that.

“I’m just going to try to get better as soon as I can to help them out again.”

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Comments | More in catchers | Topics: mike zunino; hamate; surgery; mri

July 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Mariners will lean heavily on catcher Henry Blanco early on

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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.”

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Comments | More in catchers | Topics: henry blanco; mike zunino; humberto quintero; robby thompson

June 14, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Wedge: Blanco brings more to table than Shoppach

The Mariners likely plan on keeping catcher Mike Zunino (above) in the majors long-term after today's signing of backup catcher and veteran mentor Henry Blanco.

The Mariners likely plan on keeping catcher Mike Zunino (above) in the majors long-term after today’s signing of backup catcher and veteran mentor Henry Blanco.

Some quick news: Tom Wilhelmsen will not be closing for at least his next two or three outings. The Mariners want to see Wilhelmsen in some non-save situations to work on better locating his pitches. They will mix-and-match save opportunities for now, with no specific pitcher deisgnated for that.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the team opted to sign Henry Blanco and designate for assignment catcher Kelly Shoppach today because one guy brought more to the table in “all areas” than the other.

Wedge said the team pursued Blanco last winter before he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. So, when Blanco became available, the team jumped at the chance.

“Just so much more experience,” Wedge said of going with Blanco over Shoppach. “The leadership skills. The mentor skills. Just the experience in that role and where he’s at in his life on and off the field.”

What this likely means is that Mike Zunino is going to be here longer term than just a week or two. You don’t go swapping out catchers — especially one like Shoppach you’ve guaranteed $1.5 million to — for just a 10-day experiment.

“We felt that for somebody to work alongside Zunino, there probably was nobody better at that position,” Wedge said.

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Comments | More in catchers | Topics: kelly shoppach; henry blanco; tom wilhelmsen; mike zunino

June 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Mariners make right call in bringing up Mike Zunino

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With this Mariners season on-the-verge of slipping away, the team made the right call today by promoting catcher Mike Zunino from Class AAA. I’m off today, so I’ll let colleague Larry Stone, who first broke this, handle the majority of what remains to be said.

But really, the team had no choice.

Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino makes a throw during spring training drill, watched by veteran Kelly Shoppach. It's the fear of running Shoppach into the ground that likely prompted the Mariners to today promote No. 1 draft pick Zunino to handle some catching duties.

Mariners catching prospect Mike Zunino makes a throw during spring training drill, watched by veteran Kelly Shoppach. It’s the fear of running Shoppach into the ground that likely prompted the Mariners to today promote No. 1 draft pick Zunino to handle some catching duties.

Kelly Shoppach can’t catch every day. His offensive numbers have plummeted and he’s been having the baseball slip out of his hand more than once the past couple of days — a sign that fatigue is setting in for him. And who can blame him it if is? He’s not an everyday catcher and wasn’t brought here to be one.

The Mariners need an everyday catcher up here and that isn’t Brandon Bantz. It’s Zunino, a guy who is the team’s top position player prospect and already in Class AAA.

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Comments | More in catchers | Topics: mike zunino; kelly shoppach; jesus sucre; brandon bantz

May 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Mariners option Jesus Montero to AAA, all but ending catching career

Mariners manager Eric Wedge (right) talks to Jesus Montero on the field in Cleveland before Sunday's game, going over a play from the night before that resulted in a Seattle loss when the catcher took his foot off home plate. Montero was optioned to Class AAA today and his days as a catcher for the Mariners are now all but over.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge (right) talks to Jesus Montero on the field in Cleveland before Sunday’s game, going over a play from the night before that resulted in a Seattle loss when the catcher took his foot off home plate. Montero was optioned to Class AAA today and his days as a catcher for the Mariners are now all but over.

Just got back in Seattle off my flight and the Mariners today wasted little time making their first roster move after the 2-7 road trip, demoting catcher Jesus Montero to Class AAA. While the corresponding roster move has yet to be announced, Jesus Sucre will be added to the club tomorrow to serve as the backup to Kelly Shoppach.

The 40-man roster spot will be created for Sucre ahead of tomorrow night’s game, but won’t involve a player currently on the major league squad. There are a number of minor league guys who could be taken off the roster, one of them being center fielder Francisco Martinez. So, we’ll see on that.

The Mariners also won’t be making any more moves involving the major league club for at least a few more days. There has been speculation about the futures of both Aaron Harang and Brandon Maurer, but the team doesn’t have to deal with their spots until it’s time for them to start once again.

As for Montero, his days as a catcher are effectively over.

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Comments | More in catchers | Topics: jesus montero; jesus sucre; kelly shoppach; jack zduriencik