Mariners call up young gun catcher
SEATTLE — Mike Zunino, the third player selected in the 2012 Draft and the No. 3 Mariners prospect as ranked by MLB.com, is being called up by Seattle on Tuesday to help bolster the club’s short-handed catching situation, according to sources.
The move comes after Jesus Montero and Jesus Sucre both suffered recent injuries, leaving veteran Kelly Shoppach as the only experienced catcher available.
Brandon Bantz, Zunino’s backup at Triple-A Tacoma, was promoted last week and started one game as the club initially thought Sucre’s absence would be temporary. But Sucre went on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, when little progress was being made on his left hand after he’d been hit by a bat on a backswing.
Zunino, 23, has hit .238 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs in 47 games for Tacoma this year, with a .303 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage.
Zunino was drafted out of the University of Florida last year and is regarded as one of the premier catching prospects in baseball.
Montero started the season as Seattle’s starting catcher, but was demoted to Tacoma two weeks ago and then underwent surgery this past week after tearing the meniscus in his right knee. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.
Zunino is flying from Las Vegas to meet the Mariners and is expected to arrive in time to be available for Tuesday night’s game against the Astros.