Clase called up as Mariners look for offensive jolt

Third baseman Urías optioned to Triple-A in move for switch-hitting outfielder

May 25th, 2024

WASHINGTON -- The Mariners have switched up the starting lineup every night this season to give their team their best chance to win. To start off the three-game series against the Nationals, there was a change in one of the platoons that had been a staple this year.

Hours before the 6-1 loss against the Nationals, Seattle announced third baseman Luis Urías was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma and left fielder , the Mariners’ No. 10 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, was recalled.

“We’re looking for a bit more production here and we’ll give Jonatan a chance to run in there,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said before Friday’s game at Nationals Park.

Urías worked in tandem with left-handed hitter Josh Rojas at third base and has been platooned based on matchups and each player’s history against pitchers. The Mariners acquired Urías from the Red Sox in exchange for right-handed pitcher Isaiah Campbell last November.

The right-handed hitter was off to a slow start during Spring Training, and while there have been glimpses of what he can do during the season, the 26-year-old slashed .152/.264/.316 in 79 regular-season at-bats.

“We thought it was a good opportunity to give him a chance to restart, go down to Triple-A and get some at-bats and hopefully he gets going because I do think there’s a real productive player still there,” Servais said.

The third baseman had moments where things were going well, according to Servais, but with the Mariners’ struggling offense, a change needed to be made. In its last seven games, Seattle has slashed just .203/.281/.339.

Enter Clase, who received the news of his return to the big leagues on Thursday, his birthday.

“[Receiving the news] felt great, I thought it was my birthday present,” the 22-year-old said in Spanish.

Clase batted .344 in his last eight appearances with the Rainiers with a 1.104 OPS. He was inserted into the ninth spot of the Mariners’ starting lineup for the series opener and finished the game 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

“I tried to do the best I could, but things didn’t go the way I wanted and that’s just part of the game,” he said.

Clase made his Major League debut on April 15 against Cincinnati, appearing in nine games with the Mariners before being optioned back to Triple-A on April 29. During that stint, he slashed .222/.250/.259 with three RBIs.

With Clase, a switch-hitting outfielder, entering the mix, more at-bats have opened up for Dylan Moore, a right-handed hitter.

Moore, who signed a three-year, $8.875 million extension ahead of 2023, is slashing .242/.356/.492 with a .848 OPS. He made his presence known during the recent series against the Yankees, going 5-for-8 and hitting two home runs over the four-game set. His productivity at the plate created a case for him to become an everyday player.

“Right now when we face left-handed starters, [Moore] will be at third, and he’s fantastic no matter where we put him,” Servais said. “It’s really nice having a guy like that no matter where you put them.”

The lineup adjustment was not immediately fruitful during Friday’s loss. The leadoff homer by J.P. Crawford was the only positive from the offense in the series opener.

“Disappointed,” Servais said following the game. “We need to play better than that. That’s just where we are at. We need to do more offensively. … It’s got to be top to bottom, grinding through some at-bats and got to get more pressure on the starting pitcher.”