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Mariners sign Espinosa, option Motter

Veteran infielder to serve as utility player off bench
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- In an attempt to beef up their bench, the Mariners signed veteran infielder Danny Espinosa to a Major League deal on Monday and optioned rookie utility man Taylor Motter to Triple-A Tacoma.

Veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was moved from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to open a 40-man roster spot for Espinosa, though that move doesn't change Iwakuma's situation, as he's already missed more than 60 days with a shoulder issue and still isn't close to returning.

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SEATTLE -- In an attempt to beef up their bench, the Mariners signed veteran infielder Danny Espinosa to a Major League deal on Monday and optioned rookie utility man Taylor Motter to Triple-A Tacoma.

Veteran right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was moved from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL to open a 40-man roster spot for Espinosa, though that move doesn't change Iwakuma's situation, as he's already missed more than 60 days with a shoulder issue and still isn't close to returning.

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Espinosa is an eight-year Major League veteran with a career .221/.297/.380 slash line, but he hit just .162/.237/.276 with six home runs in 77 games for the Angels this year. He hit .209 with 24 home runs and 72 RBIs in 2016 for the Nats as their everyday shortstop.

Video: LAD@LAA: Espinosa throws Puig out at the plate

Manager Scott Servais said Motter needed to play more to get back on track offensively and the club would see if Espinosa could revive his bat with a new opportunity.

"He's a veteran guy who grades out very well defensively," Servais said. "Obviously he was not having a very good year either and that's why he got released. But sometimes a change of scenery, different eyes on you, people throw different things out at you and that can get you going, too. He will be a straight utility [man], give guys a day off here or there when we need it."

Espinosa, 30, will be a free agent at the end of the season. He's earning $5.425 million from the Angels this year. Since he was released last Thursday, the Mariners will only owe him for the remaining pro-rated MLB minimum salary of about $190,000 for the final two months.

Espinosa hasn't played since July 8, but he's looking at that break as a positive after his rough go with the Angels. He was home in Santa Ana, Calif., on Saturday when the Mariners called and says he's been working out and hitting regularly.

"I think it was a good thing, mentally and physically, to get the time off from where I was at and just start fresh and look at these next two months as kind of a new beginning," he said. "This is like the start of my season."

What went wrong in Anaheim?

"I just wasn't comfortable," he said. "It was a different situation than I'd ever been in. That was the first time I'd ever really platooned. I didn't know I was going to do that going into the season. But here, my role will be to give guys days off, come in late, whatever I have to do. So I think mentally being able to prepare for that is a big thing and to know my role here is a big advantage."

The versatile Motter got off to a strong start with Seattle, hitting .262 with seven doubles, five home runs and 13 RBIs in his first 61 at-bats over 18 games in April and making some outstanding defensive contributions as well. But the 27-year-old batted just .180 with four doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs in 150 at-bats in his ensuing 52 games to drop his season line to .204/.272/.355.

"Early in the year, Taylor did a great job for us," Servais said. "He really swung the bat. The league made some adjustments to him and now he has to adjust back."

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

Seattle Mariners