SEATTLE -- Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel didn't mope when he was sent down to Triple-A Tacoma three weeks ago. Instead, he said he understood the team's thinking and tried to keep improving.And now Gamel finds himself back with the Major League club for the stretch run after hitting .369 with
SEATTLE -- Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel didn't mope when he was sent down to Triple-A Tacoma three weeks ago. Instead, he said he understood the team's thinking and tried to keep improving.
And now Gamel finds himself back with the Major League club for the stretch run after hitting .369 with seven doubles, three triples, a home run and four stolen bases in 16 games for the Rainiers as the Mariners optioned defensive standout Guillermo Heredia to Tacoma on Monday.
"I went back to playing every day and getting in a groove and got my timing back," Gamel said. "I was just trying to carry over what I'd been working on here. Obviously [being sent down] is not what anyone wants, but I understood where everything was coming from. At the end of the day, you've got to try to go down there and get better."
The Mariners also regained shortstop Jean Segura, who returned from a three-day paternity leave. Right-hander Matt Festa was sent to Double-A Arkansas after Sunday's 12-1 loss to the Dodgers to open a spot for Segura.
The return of Segura and Gamel should help an offense that was outscored, 27-7, in the three-game series against the Dodgers while Segura was on leave.
The All-Star shortstop has been one of Seattle's most-consistent hitters all year, posting a .314/.343/.437 line with nine home runs, 56 RBIs, 78 runs and 17 stolen bases in 114 games entering Monday's series opener against the Astros.
The left-handed-hitting Gamel could also help, particularly with a string of right-handed pitchers set to face the Mariners, as he posted a .290/.360/.395 line with one homer and 12 RBIs in 72 games before being optioned to Tacoma on Aug. 2.
"I'm really proud of the way he went down and took care of business," manager Scott Servais said. "He went down with the right attitude and played well. We're anxious to get him back."
Seattle sent Gamel down after acquiring Cameron Maybin to play center field, preferring Heredia's strong defense in the fourth outfielder's spot. But Heredia was hitting just .217/.295/.308 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 105 games.
"Guillermo understood," Servais said. "He knows he'll be back in 10-11 days [when rosters expand in September] and will contribute. He's another guy with a great attitude. We all love Guillermo and what he brings. The bat has slowed down quite a bit, but he brings some other things defensively that we valued."
Festa, ranked as the club's No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline, pitched two innings on Sunday and allowed one run on three hits and a walk. In two outings with Seattle this year, he has a 3.38 ERA in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander leads the Texas League with 18 saves and has a 2.90 ERA in 39 outings.
Tuivailala likely out 6-8 months
Reliever Sam Tuivailala underwent surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon on Wednesday in San Francisco and he likely won't be ready to compete again until after the start of the 2019 regular season.
Typical recovery time for a ruptured Achilles is 6-8 months. Tuivailala was acquired from the Cardinals in late July and he was expected to be a big part of the club's bullpen going forward.
"He's a multiple-inning guy and having not just one or two, if you have three or four you can mix and match and make it work and give those guys a day off here and there," Servais said. "When he went down, it was kind of a big loss. I could really see him working into a bigger role. But he went down and is out of the mix until sometime next year, so we need to make it work with what we have."
• James Paxton played catch for a second straight day on Monday. The lefty said the session went well as he extended to 100 feet as he works the swelling out of his bruised left forearm.
The Mariners don't have a set timetable for Paxton's return, but Servais noted that with his previous back issue in addition to his brusied arm, it might not be best to bring Paxton back in the upcoming Interleague road series in Arizona and San Diego where he'd need to bat. That would mean a likely return would be during the A's series in Oakland at the end of next week.
• After his spot start on Sunday, lefty Roenis Elias is likely headed back to a bullpen role. The Mariners only have one lefty reliever -- Zach Duke -- after optioning James Pazos to Tacoma on Sunday.
• Backup catcher Chris Herrmann was available off the bench in an emergency situation on Monday after getting knocked out of Sunday's game with a bruised right knee from a foul ball. Servais said the hope was he'd be full go by Tuesday.
• Reliever Dan Altavilla will need more Minor League rehab outings after throwing "okay" in his second game for Tacoma last weekend as he works back from a right elbow sprain that has sidelined him for two months.
• Reliever Juan Nicasio was getting a second opinion on his inflamed right knee on Monday as he faces a decision on his best course of action. He's been on the DL since Aug. 3.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.