SEATTLE -- After losing the last six games of a miserable road trip, the Seattle Mariners had to do something with their struggling roster.
The Mariners completed two days of roster shuffling on Friday, designating infielder Robert Andino for assignment and clearing a spot on the 40-man roster to select catcher Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Tacoma. Seattle also recalled infielder Carlos Triunfel from Tacoma to replace Andino on the big league roster.
The moves came a day after Seattle demoted slumping Jesus Montero to Tacoma and likely ended his career as a big league catcher. While he'll still see some action behind the plate with the Rainiers, Montero will focus on getting his bat back in order and learning how to play first base.
"It's been a long process for us. It's not something we just started talking about," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "We tried to give him every opportunity we could and still try to protect him, still try and get the bat going, still try to take care of him physically. But in the end his bat is the carrying tool. And with as much time, effort, energy and emotion he had to put in behind the plate it just didn't feel like we were putting him in a position to succeed offensively."
The 23-year-old Montero is hitting .208 with three home runs and nine RBIs. He's also been a designated hitter, and Seattle finally felt hitting is where Montero's focus needs to be. They still want the versatility of having him as a backup catcher option, but for now his primary task is finding his swing again.
Montero hit .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs last year in his first full season in the majors. Montero immediately reported to Tacoma on Thursday, a decision that Wedge was impressed with.
"We're going to pull the reins back a little bit. He's going to play first base down there which I think is going to help his versatility for us going forward," Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "So if he becomes a first base, DH, catcher he has three things he can do now to help our big league club as we go on."
Triunfel will be making his second appearance with the big league club after playing in 10 games last season for the Mariners. He was hitting .300 with 14 doubles and 19 RBIs in 44 games with Tacoma this season. Andino has made 22 starts for the Mariners at three different positions, but struggled at the plate no matter his spot, hitting just .184.
"That move was more about Triunfel, just more about the way he's been playing. He impressed me last September, impressed us again this spring and been pretty good down there," Wedge said. "In regard to Carlos, the bulk of his time has been at shortstop so he's going to play shortstop for us but he's also going to play some second and third base for us. He's not going to play every day but he's going to get semi-regular playing time."
Sucre had played in only 14 games with Tacoma, but was hitting .302 and had thrown out seven of 18 base runners this season. Sucre was in the Mariners starting lineup on Friday.