Zunino will serve as the Mariners' catcher and bat seventh in the order Sunday against the Blue Jays. Manager Scott Servais told 710 ESPN Seattle's Shannon Drayer shortly after Zunino's July 20 promotion that the backstop would play "more than once or twice a week," and the Mariners skipper has been true to his word thus far. Zunino will be making his third start in four games, and at the very least, it looks as though he'll split time with Chris Iannetta behind the plate, if not see the bulk of the action. Zunino has historically been an asset in the power department, but is just a .194 career hitter at the big-league level.
Zunino was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday. Zunino was sent down prior to the All-Star break, but he'll now return to the Mariners, as the team sends Jesus Sucre to Tacoma. Zunino has appeared in only two major league games on the year, but he's slashing a healthy .286/.376/.521 through 79 Triple-A contests.
Zunino homered twice Saturday in his first major-league game since last August. Zunino's power hasn't been the question, it's his ability to hit for average that had him starting this season at Triple-A Tacoma, particularly his inability to hit anything other than a fastball down the pipe. Interestingly, Zunino's first home run came off a 1-2 curveball. His second homer was a first-pitch four-seamer. He also walked and did not strike out. Zunino has a long way to go, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Mariners decided they'd rather have him play everyday at Triple-A rather than backing up Chris Iannetta a couple times a week. But this was a good start.
Zunino, who was recalled from Triple-A on Thursday, will play more than once a week as the backup to Chris Iannetta, the Seattle Times reports. Zunino replaced the injured Steve Clevenger, who saw sparse playing time -- Iannetta is second innings caught in the AL. Zunino wouldn't have been called up from his season-long development plan in Tacoma without Clevenger's injury. But he'll have the chance to show whether the extra instruction improved his hitting. Last season, his .174 average was on pace to be the lowest in the majors since 1892 before he was sent down in late August. "He's going to play more than once a week," manager Scott Servais said. "There's no doubt, just looking at our schedule and looking at our day games and how it matches up there. There will plenty of opportunity for him."
Zunino was recalled prior to Thursday's game against the Orioles, Jim Duquette of MLB.com reports. Zunino was promoted to the big leagues to replace the injured Steve Clevenger, who went down with a broken hand Wednesday. Clevenger is expected to be out at least a month, and Zunino figures to be the backup for Chris Iannetta behind the plate while he is on the mend. At the time of his call-up, Zunino had been hitting .282/.366/.516 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI with Triple-A Tacoma in 248 at-bats this season.