9/2/2013 2:05 P.M. ET
Zunino focusing on strong September
By Robert Falkoff / Special to MLB.com
KANSAS CITY -- Mike Zunino is back with the Mariners and eager to use the month of September as a springboard toward what he anticipates will be a strong 2014 season.
"I'm really excited for this last month," Zunino said. "I'm focused on what I want to get done. Hopefully, I can continue to swing the bat well, catch the staff and go from there."
Zunino was activated on Monday after recovering from a broken hamate bone in his left wrist that forced him to miss 34 games. He played in five rehab games for Triple-A Tacoma before joining the Mariners in Kansas City. Manager Eric Wedge immediately penciled Zunino into the Labor Day lineup as the catcher for Felix Hernandez.
"The rehab went great," Zunino said. "Once I was able to start doing baseball stuff, the grip strength came back quickly."
Wedge believes Zunino's ability to handle the pitching staff is a key component for the Mariners going forward.
"It's not a reflection on anybody else," Wedge said. "It's just a positive toward him -- his energy, his youth, his knowledge. Though he's young, he's very mature and very advanced. He has a passion to continue to learn about his pitchers. Knowing he is going to be here, there's a calm about that, too."
Prior to Monday, Zunino didn't have a lot of experience catching Hernandez.
"I think he's up for it," Wedge said. "We've only got so many games left, and he's ready to play. My hope would be that he's going to be catching Felix quite a bit in his career."
Wedge giving versatile Almonte a look in center
KANSAS CITY -- The Mariners got to see newcomer Abraham Almonte play left and right field in Houston. On Monday, Almonte drew the start in center while hitting in the No. 9 slot.
"[Center field] is where he had been playing the majority of the time in Triple-A," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "I didn't want to break him in as the center fielder in Houston with that hill they've got out there. He's got a more normal setting here in Kansas City."
Wedge likes the versatility that Almonte brings -- he can smoothly play all the outfield positions.
"For someone like him, who can run and throw and is so athletic, he can most definitely handle all three," Wedge said.
• Wedge wasn't ready to provide names on Monday, but said the Mariners will "probably have three or four more guys" when additional callups join the club on Tuesday.
The Mariners were waiting for Monday's conclusion of Triple-A Tacoma's schedule to inform players who will be flying to Kansas City. The Rainiers wrapped up their season against Sacramento.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.