MINNEAPOLIS — Infielder Nick Franklin likely will be recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, perhaps as soon as Tuesday, if his achy back cooperates.
The Seattle Mariners are expected to make a roster move before Tuesday’s series opener at Texas after an injury to Corey Hart in Sunday’s 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
“Hopefully, (Franklin’s) back is healthy,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “And then we’ll see where we are. Obviously, we need offense, and he’s certainly an option. ... We’ll see where we are in the next few days.”
Tacoma scratched Franklin from Sunday’s game at Sacramento. He had been listed as the Rainiers’ starting left fielder. The move came soon after Hart suffered a strained left hamstring at Target Field.
Hart’s injury occurred as he prepared to slide into second on a stolen base in the fourth inning. He is headed back to Seattle for an examination Monday, but it will be surprising if he isn’t placed on the disabled list.
“I felt something,” Hart said. “Other than my knees, I’ve never had leg injuries. But I know what’s good and what’s not good. It didn’t feel normal. I knew right away that I needed to come out.”
McClendon said he and general manager Jack Zduriencik have discussed recalling Franklin in hopes he could spark a struggling attack. Franklin is batting .376 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 30 games at Tacoma.
Such a move appeared imminent last week before a sore back prompted Franklin’s removal from a game at Las Vegas. He sat out one more day before returning to the lineup.
Seattle views Franklin, 23, as a utility player and not a full-time replacement for struggling shortstop Brad Miller. Accordingly, Franklin played his past three games in the outfield in an effort to boost his versatility.
“For him to be able to play a lot of different positions is important,” McClendon said. “Because if he’s going to be here right now, he’s going to have to move around.”
Franklin was 2-for-16 in seven games for the Mariners in a previous recall from April 16-23. He batted .225 last season as a rookie with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in 102 games.
Left-hander James Paxton and right-hander Taijuan Walker are scheduled to pitch simulated games Tuesday in Texas. They reported no day-after problems following Saturday workouts.
Outfielder/designated hitter Logan Morrison will bat in both games as a final test to his recovery from a strained right hamstring, which surfaced before an April 14 game at Texas.
If Morrison has no problems Tuesday, he likely will depart for a minor league rehabilitation assignment to sharpen his game readiness. Such assignments can last 20 days for nonpitchers (30 for pitchers).
Robinson Cano went 4-for-5 and matched a career milestone by reaching base at least once for a 26th consecutive game. That streak is the longest current run in the majors. … James Jones tied a club record held by Edgar Martinez by beating out an infield single to open the fifth inning. Jones has at least one hit in each of his first 10 career starts. Martinez did that in 1987. … Justin Smoak had his 11th double and 27th RBI, each of which are club-leading totals.
The Mariners have an open date Monday before playing a two-game series at Texas. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (2-0, 1.59 ERA) will start the series opener at 5:05 p.m. Tuesday against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis (3-2, 4.99 ERA). Root Sports will air the game.bob.dutton@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @TNT_Mariners