SEATTLE -- Mariners catcher Mike Zunino was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday with a strained left oblique and the club recalled David Freitas from Triple-A Tacoma to take his spot.The injury is a tough early-season blow for the Mariners, who now have rookies Mike Marjama and Freitas
SEATTLE -- Mariners catcher Mike Zunino was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Friday with a strained left oblique and the club recalled David Freitas from Triple-A Tacoma to take his spot.
The injury is a tough early-season blow for the Mariners, who now have rookies Mike Marjama and Freitas as their two catchers. The two have combined for just 29 at-bats and four Major League starts.
Marjama was behind the plate in Thursday's 2-1 victory over the Indians on Opening Day. Freitas will join the team in time for Saturday afternoon's second game with Cleveland at Safeco Field.
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The club is already without starting left fielder Ben Gamel due to a strained oblique. Gamel has been out for four weeks and is just now taking batting practice and getting close to a Minor League rehab stint. Right fielder Mitch Haniger missed six weeks last season with a similar injury.
Freitas, 29, was claimed off waivers from the Braves in October and hit .238 (5-for-21) with one run and one RBI in 11 Cactus League games this spring. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder made his Major League debut late last season with the Braves, hitting .235 in 17 at-bats over six games.
He played most of last season with Triple-A Gwinnett and batted .263 with three homer runs and 21 RBIs in 236 at-bats. Freitas is regarded as a solid defensive catcher and threw out 30.2 percent of attempted basestealers last season in Triple-A.
Zunino felt tightness in his left side while taking batting practice in Wednesday's workout at Safeco Field on the eve of Opening Day. He had hit .395 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 43 at-bats this spring after a breakout second half last season with the Mariners.
"It just felt stiff, it felt tight," Zunino said after being held out of Thursday's opener. "As a baseball player, you're aware of anything in that abdominal region, so I just shut it down."
After a slow start last season, the 27-year-old finished with a .251/.331/.509 line with 25 home runs and 64 RBIs in 124 games. He hit .281 with a .589 slugging percentage and 24 home runs in his final 95 games.
Zunino was the third overall pick in the 2012 Draft and has spent his entire career with the Mariners. Over parts of five seasons with the club, this is just his second time going on the disabled list, having fractured his hamate bone and missing the final five weeks of 2013.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB