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M's lose Zunino to DL again

Mike Zunino was getting the day off on July 4th. Chris Herrmann started at catcher and Z was kicking back in the dugout. But then the Mariners mounted a threat against the Angels and Z was asked to pinch-hit and finish out the game. He walked and singled in his two plate appearances, a very good sign after he spent a good deal of pre-game time working on his batting mechanics with Edgar Martínez and Minor League field coordinator Mike Micucci, but rolled his ankle while running the bases.

The minor injury will put Zunino on the ten-day disabled list and likely keep him out of action until after the All-Star break. He would be eligible to play the day before the break, but with the four day respite at hand, it would make sense to give him the extra time. This is the second DL stint this year for Zunino, who was also out for 17 games to begin the season with a strained oblique muscle.

Catcher David Freitas has been recalled from Tacoma and will split time behind the plate with Herrmann in the interim.

Losing Zunino even for a brief stretch is worrisome, not because of his bat—he's still batting under .200 and striking out nearly half the time—but because of his rapport with the pitchers. How the pitching staff performs in his absence will be interesting to monitor.

Meanwhile, Mitch Haniger was a late scratch to tonight's lineup due to a bruised knee—perhaps suffered when hitting the wall while chasing a foul fly in yesterday's game—and may also miss some time. That would be an even bigger problem for the M's.


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