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Gordon returns from IL for Mariners

Second baseman missed 3 weeks with bruised wrist; Festa optioned
@gregjohnsmlb
June 11, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Mariners club with eight players on the 10-day injured list got one of those back on Tuesday as second baseman Dee Gordon was activated, with reliever Matt Festa optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma. Gordon's return will help bolster an infield that remains without shortstop J.P. Crawford and

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Mariners club with eight players on the 10-day injured list got one of those back on Tuesday as second baseman Dee Gordon was activated, with reliever Matt Festa optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma.

Gordon's return will help bolster an infield that remains without shortstop J.P. Crawford and first baseman Ryon Healy. Also on the 10-day IL are outfielders Mitch Haniger and Braden Bishop, relievers Connor Sadzeck and Chasen Bradford and starter Félix Hernández.

Crawford, sidelined by a sprained left ankle, is beginning a Minor League rehab assignment Tuesday with Class A Advanced Modesto and expected to rejoin the Mariners this weekend in Oakland.

Gordon has been out for three weeks with a deep bone bruise in his left wrist from getting hit by a pitch. He initially tried to play through the injury, but was shut down on May 21 after going 3-for-22 in five games as his average dropped from .304 to .281.

Gordon went 3-for-14 in three rehab outings with Tacoma.

"My timing was good. Everything was good," Gordon said. "I'm happy to be back playing. I just want to come back and get my feet back on the ground and do what I've got to do."

The 31-year-old speedster will resume his role as the starting second baseman, a spot handled primarily by rookie Shed Long during his absence. Long has posted a .269/.356/.385 line with six doubles in 14 games since being recalled when Gordon went on the IL.

Long will remain on the roster for now, as he's also capable of playing the outfield, where the Mariners are short-handed with Haniger and Bishop sidelined. Long and utility man Dylan Moore are the only backup outfielders behind starters Mallex Smith, Domingo Santana and Mac Williamson, and Moore has been starting at shortstop during Crawford’s absence.

Festa’s departure still leaves the Mariners with eight relievers, as they’d been carrying an extra bullpen arm the past three games. Festa, the club’s No. 17-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, has a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings over nine appearances during three stints with the big league club this season.

The 26-year-old pitched twice in his latest time with the Mariners, allowing one run on one hit with two walks and three strikeouts over two innings against the Astros in a pair of games last week.

Worth noting

• Hernandez, on the IL the past month with a right lat strain, threw three 15-pitch innings in a live batting practice session on Sunday in Tacoma. He will begin a Minor League rehab stint this weekend.

• Closer Hunter Strickland, sidelined since March 30 with a more severe right lat strain, also threw live batting practice on Sunday. But the veteran right-hander felt some soreness and his return will be slowed down, according to manager Scott Servais.

• Haniger (ruptured testicle) and Bishop (lacerated spleen) both remain at home recovering from their surgeries. Servais indicated neither would begin any activities for another week or so.

• Healy had a bone scan on his lower back, but the tests didn't show any structural issues. He'll attempt to resume working out after dealing with lingering issues that have sidelined him for three weeks.

• An MRI test on Sadzeck's sore right elbow came back clean, but the reliever hasn't resumed throwing yet. Bradford (strained right elbow) also remains shut down. Sam Tuivailala, who is working back from Achilles surgery, will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.