SEATTLE -- The Mariners regained another key piece of their lineup on Thursday, as second baseman Dee Gordon was activated off the 10-day disabled list and was penciled into the leadoff spot for the series finale against the Rangers.Gordon missed nine games after going on the DL with a fractured
SEATTLE -- The Mariners regained another key piece of their lineup on Thursday, as second baseman Dee Gordon was activated off the 10-day disabled list and was penciled into the leadoff spot for the series finale against the Rangers.
Gordon missed nine games after going on the DL with a fractured right big toe on May 21. The 30-year-old speedster opened the season in center field for the Mariners, but he had moved to second base to replace the suspended Robinson Cano for three games before being sidelined.
Veteran infielder James Beckham was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to open a spot on the 25-man roster for Gordon's return.
Beckham, 31, has played 10 seasons in the Majors, but he still has Minor League options remaining and thus can be optioned to Tacoma without having to clear waivers. But he does have enough MLB service time to decline the option and become a free agent if he chooses.
With Beckham's departure, utility man Andrew Romine becomes the remaining backup at all the infield spots.
"Gordon did a nice job coming in here," manager Scott Servais said. "It's tough to send a guy down. It was tough to send him down at the end of Spring Training. I thought he really swung the bat well the last couple days particularly. But we thought the added flexibility -- Romine just has a little more experience at all the positions.
"So we'll stick with that right now. Hopefully Gordon Beckham stays in the organization. We certainly feel comfortable calling him back up again if we need to."
The Mariners have gone 11-5 since Cano broke his hand on May 13 and then was suspended for 80 games a day later. They also went several games without Jean Segura due to a concussion, leaving them temporarily without the top three hitters in their order, though Segura returned on Tuesday.
"Obviously Cano is out for quite some time yet, but the other guys are getting back in there," Servais said. "We're starting to see some signs of Nelson Cruz heating up, which is great to see. But the top of the order is starting to get a little more solidified than a few days ago without Dee or Jean Segura. It's nice to have those guys out there."
Gordon is leading the American League with 16 stolen bases while posting a .304/.330/.386 line in his first 45 games with Seattle.
Beckham hit .206 in 34 at-bats over 12 games while primarily filling in for Cano after being promoted from Tacoma on May 14.
• The Mariners held their 21st annual DREAM Team assemblies at area schools on Thursday, with players visiting Issac Stevens Elementary and Dearborn Park International School in Seattle, White Center Heights Elementary in Highline, Wash., and Grand Ridge Elementary in Issaquah, Wash.
• Mariners fans are being encouraged to bring new and "gently used" baseball and softball equipment to Sunday's game against the Rays at Safeco Field, where volunteers will be stationed outside to accept donations to help the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.