OAKLAND -- After 80 days on the suspended list, Robinson Cano rejoined the Mariners on Tuesday, and his return figures to provide a timely boost for a club fighting for its first postseason berth in 17 years.Dee Gordon, who replaced Cano at second base during his suspension, was sidelined for
OAKLAND -- After 80 days on the suspended list, Robinson Cano rejoined the Mariners on Tuesday, and his return figures to provide a timely boost for a club fighting for its first postseason berth in 17 years.
Dee Gordon, who replaced Cano at second base during his suspension, was sidelined for a second straight day for Monday's series opener with the A's due to left shoulder discomfort. And even if Gordon is healthy by Tuesday, Seattle is eager to add Cano's potent bat to the lineup in any and every way possible.
That means Cano will be playing some games at first base in place of Ryon Healy, as well as occasionally giving Gordon a break at second or Kyle Seager a break at third.
"There is no great blueprint that says this is what is going to happen 33 percent of the time or 67 percent of the time," manager Scott Servais said on Monday. "We have to play it day by day and series by series. It's a great offensive player to add to our mix, and the fact he can move around the field and is willing to do it, it should really keep some guys fresh and hopefully it pays dividends."
Cano played five Minor League games with Triple-A Tacoma and Class A Short-Season Everett to prepare for his return, spending two games at first base, one at second, one at third and one at designated hitter. In his 14-year Major League career, he's played all but one inning in the field at second base, moving to shortstop for one frame in an emergency role for the Yankees in 2013.
The last time Cano had played third base was in 2005, when he spent one game there as a 22-year-old in Triple-A Columbus. In his Minor League career, he played 80 games at shortstop and 17 at third base, but he never played first base until this past week.
The Mariners will face an interesting decision on how to work Cano into their lineup now that Gordon is entrenched at second base. To make room on the active roster for Cano, right-hander Casey Lawrence was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma late on Monday, and to make space on the 40-man roster, right-hander Sam Tuivailala, who has a strained right Achilles, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. .
Cano will be largely taking away the need for veteran utility man Andrew Romine, but Romine can't be sent down to Tacoma without being designated for assignment and exposed to waivers. Romine will be needed if Seattle makes the playoffs, for which Cano would be ineligible due to the rules of a failed drug test.
The biggest thing for now is the ability to add a player who hit .287/.385/.441 in his first 39 games this year and is an eight-time All-Star with 305 career homers.
Servais said the challenge will be to remind Cano that he can't make up for a lost half-season all at once.
"He's a great player," said Servais. "He made a mistake. He wants to put it behind him as quick as he can. In all players' minds, if they go out and produce on the field, then everybody will relax and put it behind them. But it's a day at a time. Don't try to do too much."
Injury updates: Gordon, Tuivailala and more
• Gordon was initially in Monday's lineup, but he was scratched about two hours before game time. The speedster hurt his shoulder sliding into the knee of Astros second baseman Yuli Gurriel on a stolen base on Saturday. He had a pinch-hit single and scored the winning run in the 10th inning on Sunday.
• Reliever Sam Tuivailala will need surgery on his right Achilles tendon that was hurt on Wednesday in Texas, and Servais said the right-hander -- who was acquired two weeks ago from the Cardinals -- is going to be out a "significant amount of time" and may not be ready for the start of Spring Training next season.
• Veteran right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio is getting a second doctor's opinion on his inflamed right knee and is waiting to see whether he'll need surgery. Nicasio went on the 10-day disabled list on Aug. 3.
• Lefty Roenis Elias needed 28 pitches to get through two-thirds of an inning of relief for Tacoma in his second rehab outing while issuing three walks with one strikeout on Sunday. Elias is working back from a strained left triceps and came out of the outing without any health issues.
• Right-handed reliever Dan Altavilla threw well in a live batting-practice session with Tacoma over the weekend, Servais said. Altavilla likely will throw another BP session but has a chance to begin a Minor League rehab stint within a week.
• Hisashi Iwakuma, who is signed to a Minor League contract, also threw a live BP session, and it went well enough that he could attempt a rehab outing soon as well.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.