The Seattle Mariners reinstated second baseman Dee Gordon from the 10-day injured list Saturday. He had missed 14 games with a left quad strain.
Manager Scott Servais had discussed the idea of possibly sending Gordon on a minor league rehab assignment earlier in the week, but the Mariners opted to activate the 30-year-old veteran directly.
He was listed as the starter at second base for Saturday night’s game against Tampa Bay, batting seventh, and was out early in the afternoon taking an extra session of batting practice with a few teammates. Gordon was dancing in front of his locker in Seattle’s clubhouse ahead of the game, and has appeared without limitation during pregame warm-ups throughout the week.
“I think he’ll be the regular second baseman, but I thought (Austin) Nola did a really good job filling in there,” Servais said.
Servais said Nola, who moved over to first base Saturday, which pushed Daniel Vogelbach back into the designated hitter spot, could still make some appearances at second.
The Mariners will do some shuffling to give Vogelbach some breathers at first base, Servais said. He has been playing the bulk of his recent games there to help make room for Domingo Santana — who has also been regularly playing as the DH while he continues to build up a sore elbow — in the batting order.
Seattle could continue to move players around in the coming weeks, with position players like Mitch Haniger and Braden Bishop nearing returns.
“We’ve got other guys coming back healthy, too, so the roster will shuffle here in the next 10 days or so as we keep adding healthy bodies,” Servais said.
Gordon was slashing at .280/.306/.367 in 77 games before going on the IL with eight doubles, three triples, three homers, 27 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. He had at least one hit — and a pair of three-hit games — in six of seven appearances before his injury.
Gordon was placed on the IL on July 23 after leaving the previous night’s game against the Rangers with tightness in the area. An MRI showed he had between a Grade 1 and 2 strain in his quad. Servais originally projected Gordon would miss “a few weeks,” but he progressed faster than initially thought.
This was Gordon’s second stay on the IL this season. He missed 19 games earlier this season with a contusion in his right wrist after he was hit by a pitch during Seattle’s May series in New York.
Rookie Ryan Court, who had two hits in Friday night’s loss to the Rays — including his first big-league homer — was optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma in a corresponding move.
“Kind of crazy,” Servais said. “You send out Ryan Court. Quite a journey to get here, and hits a home run, and we send him out. It’s what happens in this business.”
TOP PROSPECT PROMOTED
Jarred Kelenic, the top prospect in the Mariners organization, was promoted again Saturday.
Less than a month removed from his 20th birthday, Kelenic has made the jump to Double-A Arkansas after starting the season with low Single-A West Virginia and making another brief stop in high Single-A Modesto.
“We all anticipated he would do well,” Servais said in May, when Kelenic earned his first promotion to Modesto. “Jarred’s really driven to move up the ranks as quick as possible.”
The young outfielder was a central piece in Seattle’s blockbuster deal with the Mets in December. New York received Mariners stars Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, and Seattle got veterans Jay Bruce and Anthony Swarzak — both of whom have already been traded — as well as Kelenic, No. 5 prospect Justin Dunn and Gerson Bautista.
Kelenic has done nothing but impress at each of the two levels he’s played at for the Mariners.
He slashed at .309/.394/.586 in 50 games with West Virginia, scoring 33 runs while knocking 14 doubles, three triples, three homers and collecting 29 RBIs while walking 25 times and stealing seven bases in 191 at-bats.
The numbers in Modesto were nearly as productive — a .290/.353/.485 slash with 36 runs scored, 13 doubles, a triple, six homers, 22 RBIs, 17 walks and 10 stolen bases in 169 at-bats across 46 games.
“Exactly what we thought we were getting,” Mariners director of player development Andy McKay said earlier this season. “When you trade a Robinson Cano and an Edwin Diaz, you really have high expectations for what you’re getting in return.
“And Jared has met those expectations, he’s exceeding those expectations and I think most nights on the baseball field he’s the best player on that field.”
JERRY STILL DEALING
The trade deadline has passed, but Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is still finding ways to make deals.
In the last two days, he has traded away a pair of players from Triple-A Tacoma for cash considerations. (Players who are not on the 40-man roster can still be traded after the July 31 deadline.)
Minor league catcher Jose Lobaton, who signed a minor league contract with the Mariners in January and has spent the entirety of his season with the Rainiers, was traded to the Dodgers on Friday.
The 34-year-old catcher has played in parts of 17 professional seasons, including nine seasons in the majors with four different clubs. He was batting .236/.305/.434 in 75 games with Tacoma, with 18 doubles, 13 homers and 38 RBIs.
Saturday, the Mariners confirmed another deal that sent minor league outfielder Ian Miller to the Twins. The 27-year-old was drafted by Seattle in the 14th round in 2013, and has yet to make his MLB debut.
He slashed at .269/.351/.449 in 106 games with the Rainiers this season, with 27 doubles, five triples, 11 homers, 54 RBIs and 29 stolen bases. He also represented Tacoma in this year’s Triple-A All-Star Game.
▪ Dan Altavilla (forearm) will make a rehab appearance with Short-A Everett Sunday. He is scheduled to throw one inning, about 15-20 pitches. He will probably need 3-5 rehab outings before returning to the big-league roster, Servais said.
▪Haniger (ruptured testicle) is tentatively scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Modesto.
▪Bishop (lacerated spleen) will go out on a rehab assignment likely Tuesday or Wednesday. Mariners don’t know where yet.