SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners sent slumping catcher Jesus Montero to the minor leagues Thursday, a year after acquiring him in trade full of potential that hasn’t panned out for either side.
The Mariners optioned Montero to Triple-A Tacoma. He has 72 hours to join the club.
The 23-year-old Montero is hitting .208 with three home runs and nine RBIs. He’s also been a designated hitter, and there are concerns about his impatience at the plate.
Seattle got Montero from the New York Yankees after the 2011 season. Montero made a nice impression in a brief call-up that year, hitting .328 with four homers and 12 RBIs, and the Yankees traded him and pitcher Hector Noesi to the Mariners for pitcher Michael Pineda and a minor leaguer.
Montero hit .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs last year in his first full season in the majors.
Montero had been splitting time with backup catcher Kelly Shoppach in recent weeks. The Mariners will make a corresponding roster move Friday — their catchers in Triple-A are defensive-minded Jesus Sucre and touted prospect Mike Zunino.
Pineda, an All-Star as a rookie in 2011, has been injured and not pitched yet in the majors for the Yankees.
Pineda is currently pitching in extended spring training games and could be ready to start a minor league assignment after one more extended start early next week. He threw Thursday, which lines him up to pitch again Tuesday.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies have placed five-time All-Star second baseman Chase Utley on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain.
Utley could miss up to four weeks. The team will make a roster move before Friday’s game at Washington.
“We do believe and hope that Chase will be ready to play in Philadelphia within 15 days,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “We are being cautious with this injury as it is a tricky one and want to make sure it isn’t an issue for him throughout the season.”
Utley is batting .272 with seven homers and 25 RBIs. Freddy Galvis has replaced him in the starting lineup.