The Seattle Mariners only had so many Gold Glove second basemen on the roster.
So now what?
They placed Dee Gordon on the 10-day disabled list because of a fractured right big toe, a move retroactive to Monday.
To take his place on the active roster the Mariners recalled first baseman Daniel Vogelbach from Triple-A Tacoma.
Gordon seemed to re-aggravate the injury he first suffered when he fouled a pitch off of his foot in Toronto, causing him to miss their May 10 game against the Blue Jays.
Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters before Tuesday’s game in Oakland that Gordon had X-rays there and learned he suffered a small fracture in his toe. It won’t require surgery.
“No, no, no – don’t say that word,” Servais said. “That (surgery) never got brought up at all. It’s something that should heal over time.
“With speed being such a big part of his game, the best thing to do is to let that thing calm down. I don’t think it’s going to completely heal in 10 days, but certainly we can get it to the point where it can calm down sooner and as soon as the 10 days are up we are hoping to get him back out there with us.”
The Mariners also kept Nelson Cruz out of Tuesday’s lineup and started Vogelbach at designated hitter. Servais said that Cruz could have been available to pinch hit and he expects their slugger to return to the lineup Wednesday after suffering an elbow contusion when he was hit by a pitch in Saturday’s game.
But, back to Gordon.
He darted from his spot at second base to try to chase down a blooper into shallow right field in the top of the 11th inning of Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers, and he dived for a ball that it seemed he had no business even being near. He didn’t catch it.
“I couldn’t believe he almost got to it,” Servais said after the game. “But I think it kind of flared up (the toe) when he ran a long way for it.”
Yet, Gordon was still playing in the bottom of the 11th when he led off with a single, stole second base and then scored the game-winning run on Jean Segura’s walk-off hit.
Gordon seemed like he was in pain after crossing the plate, though, with the rest of his teammates celebrating with Segura past first base, Gordon looked like he was limping back toward the dugout.
He’s batting .304 and leading the American League with 16 stolen bases.
“I mean, we need him to get on base,” Mariners shortstop Jean Segura said of their leadoff hitter on Sunday. “He sets the tone. I’ve said that before, but he sets the tone for the team. When he gets on base we are a completely different team because he puts so much pressure on the pitcher because he’s running.”
The Mariners were already without two-time Gold Glove second baseman Robinson Cano because MLB hit him with an 80-game drug suspension. That’s the only reason Gordon, a former Gold Glove second baseman, himself, moved back to his old position last week from center field.
The Mariners started Gordon Beckham at second base on Tuesday. Servais said Andrew Romine will split time there, too.
But Gordon’s absence created a place for Vogelbach, who had been raking in Triple-A since he was optioned in April.
Vogelbach is hitting .301 with a .449 on-base percentage and an on-base plus slugging of 1.159. That would be the third-best of anybody in the Pacific Coast League, just behind Salt Lake’s Jabari Blash (a former Mariners prospect) and El Paso’s Franmil Reyes.
Vogelbach has hit nine home runs in 24 games since joining the Rainiers. He earned PCL player of the week. And he hit four home runs in three games from May 12-13.
He hit .204 (11-for-54) with two home runs (one of those cleared the Hit It Here Café in the third deck above right field at Safeco Field) in 19 games when he opened the season with the Mariners.
“Vogelbach has been swinging the bat great in Triple-A and one of the reasons we brought him up is because we wanted to get Nelson back right,” Servais said. “So bring him up and get Gordon Beckham and Romine to chip in some at second base and, what I’ve said all along, other guys just do their job.”
If you’re keeping count, Gordon is now the sixth Mariners’ position player to land on the DL.
The list: Gordon, Cano (fractured finger), Cruz (sprained ankle), Ryon Healy (sprained ankle), Mike Zunino (strained oblique) and Ben Gamel (strained oblique).
Right-handed starter Erasmo Ramirez is currently on the 10-day DL with a right Teres Major strain and reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament in spring training and needed season-ending Tommy John surgery. Hisashi Iwakuma is still recovering from offseason shoulder debridement surgery.
Cruz took a pitch off his elbow in his first game back on Saturday after spending two games away because he took a pitch off of his foot and suffered a bone contusion.
“It’s just where we’re at right now,” Servais said. “It happens to different teams throughout the course of the season. You have unfortunate hit by pitches or nagging injuries or you lose a guy here or there. It’s been a challenge in the past week or so. We’re trying to get everybody completely healthy. We just have to go through this little spell right now. We certainly have guys who are capable of stepping in.”
The Mariners continue their three-game series in Oakland with left-hander Marco Gonzales (3-3, 4.66 ERA) taking the mound. The A’s will start 25-year-old right-hander Daniel Gossett (0-1, 11.05 ERA).
The 7:05 p.m. game Wednesday at Oakland Coliseum will televise on Root Sports and broadcast on 710-AM radio.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677