09/01/11 10:30 PM ET
Rizzs, Fairly on Frick Award ballot
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Mariners add three as rosters expand
SEATTLE -- The Mariners added catcher Chris Gimenez and relievers Shawn Kelley and Cesar Jimenez to their Major League roster on Thursday as clubs were allowed to expand their rosters beyond 25.Gimenez was recalled from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Tacoma and activated from the 60-day disabled list. He's been playing the past three weeks since recovering from a strained oblique muscle in his side. Kelley pitched the past two years for Seattle, but is returning from elbow surgery and has been throwing well in recent weeks for the Rainiers. Jimenez, a left-hander, pitched 35 games with the Mariners in 2006 and '08. Both Gimenez and Jimenez had to be added to the 40-man roster, which was at 39 following Wednesday's trade of Jack Wilson to Atlanta. To clear one more spot, the Mariners released infielder Matt Tuiasosopo from Tacoma. Tuiasosopo was the team's third-round Draft pick in '04 and had limited stints with the Mariners the past three seasons, but hit just .176 in 193 at-bats. He was batting .226 with 14 home runs and 77 RBIs this season for Tacoma. "I saw some things I thought were interesting this spring and had a good talk with him, because unlike years past, we wanted him to get an opportunity to go down and get everyday at-bats," manager Eric Wedge said. "We felt that was the best thing for him and his career, but he didn't take advantage of it. That's just it. Obviously there's been so much opportunity here this year, but for whatever reason he wasn't able to get himself going." The Mariners will likely call up another player or two when Tacoma's season ends Monday. For now, they added three players with Major League experience who could help immediately. "We wanted to get that third catcher up here and we needed a couple pieces in the bullpen," Wedge said. "We've been running with six guys and I'm happy we were able to get to September with the six." Kelley, who posted a 1.84 ERA in 12 games with the Rainiers, said he's nearly fully recovered from his elbow surgery. "I'm still a few miles per hour away on my velocity, but command and my slider are good," he said. "I've been able to be effective. I think my last outing I was around 92. I'd like to think any day now it'll jump back up, but I know where it's going pretty well right now and I'm feeling pretty good." Kelley said getting the September call from Seattle is just a bonus at this point. "It was so nice to just be back pitching on a routine and waiting for the bullpen phone to ring [in Tacoma]," he said. "I was just relieved to be healthy and able to pitch because after 2-3 setbacks, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to pitch again. My season could have ended there and I'd have been happy I finished strong. This is just icing on the cake for me." Gimenez hit .265 in 13 games for the Rainiers since getting healthy and is thrilled to be back in action as well. "The DL is not really for me, let's put it that way," he said. "It's been very boring and tough because you can't do anything. But I've been playing for three weeks now and that was a good chance to get some at-bats and get the kinks out and get over the fear of doing it again. That was the biggest thing. The first couple days I was really hesitant with my swing, but after getting over that little bump it was pretty smooth sailing."
Seager turning heads with glove and bat
SEATTLE -- Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager is clearly showing he can hit at the Major League level in recent weeks, batting .435 over his last 12 games and .342 in 22 games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma.But the rookie hit at every level on his way through the Minor Leagues, so perhaps the more surprising aspect of his play has been the excellent glove work recently at third base. Seager made several sterling plays at the hot corner in Wednesday's 2-1 victory over the Angels. "I'm here to tell you, I was more impressed by that than anything last night," manager Eric Wedge said before Thursday's series finale. "There were a couple shots his way that he handled very well. "We've seen him come in on those bunts and slow rollers a couple times and he's handled that body control very well with something on it, keeping it inside the bag. It's not easy to do. "You guys got spoiled over here for a couple years watching [Adrian] Beltre do it," said Wedge. "He's as good if not the best ever at that. But Seag has done a nice job. He's settling in, he's giving us some quality at-bats, he's had some big hits for us and he's really caught up to the speed of the game over there at third base defensively." Combine that with his increasing comfort at the plate and the former North Carolina standout is certainly making his case as the third baseman of the future for a club that has been searching for answers at that position. Heading into Thursday's series finale against the Angels, Seager was 20-for-46 with nine runs, seven doubles and two home runs and five RBIs over his previous 12 games. The only thing missing might be home run pop at a traditional power position, but Wedge didn't sound worried about that Thursday. "A lot of people talk about profiling [power positions]," Wedge said. "I'll give you my definition. I don't care ... as long as we have them out there in our nine. It doesn't have to be by position. I don't care where it comes from, as long as we have it. "If we don't have power in one position, then we need it somewhere else. And power, most people think of that as home runs. I define power as extra-base hits and the ability to drive in runs. Hey, I love home runs as much as the next guy. But we're talking about scoring runs." As for Seager's outlook, he just wants to be in the lineup. He played third base his junior year at North Carolina before moving mostly to second base after being drafted by the Mariners in '09. "It doesn't really matter to me necessarily where I play, I'm just going to try to do my best anyway," said the 23-year-old. "Wherever they want to put me is perfectly fine with me. I've played all different positions coming through the Minors, so I feel pretty comfortable everywhere."
First baseman Justin Smoak remained in Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday night, playing his fourth rehab game while recovering from a broken nose and cheek bone. Wedge said he could rejoin the Mariners for their road trip to Oakland or remain with the Rainiers over the weekend.The club wants to see Smoak get comfortable at the plate again after playing just one game over the previous four weeks due to a thumb injury and then the broken nose. Infielder Chone Figgins will not report to Tacoma for a rehab assignment, but will instead stay with the Mariners and work out as he continues recovering from a hip injury. Wedge said rookie Anthony Vasquez would remain in the starting rotation for another turn, despite his rough outing Tuesday against the Angels. Vasquez is scheduled to start Monday against the Angels again in Anaheim. He'll be followed in the rotation in Anaheim by Felix Hernandez on Tuesday and Charlie Furbush on Wednesday. The order for this weekend's three-game set in Oakland will be Jason Vargas, Michael Pineda and Blake Beavan.