It’s official outfielder Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement have been called up from Triple A Tacoma and will be in uniform tonight. To make room for those two players, outfielder Brad Wilkerson and bench player Greg Norton have been designated for assignment, according to the Mariners media relations.
Wilkerson was not in the clubhouse today, while Norton was just told by general manager Bill Bavasi and manager John McLaren.
I’m still not certain why they designated Norton instead of Miguel Cairo, which is pretty much the consensus for the media here. Norton was hitting .438 as you will read below and he seemed to be an offensive threat. Maybe Cairo has some compromising photos of somebody in the Mariners front office to keep him on this team. And as for Vidro, they still seem to hold out belief that he will hit again, particularly after last night.
Here’s the official release from the Mariners….
MARINERS RECALL C JEFF CLEMENT & OF WLADIMIR BALENTIEN FROM AAA TACOMA
OF Brad Wilkerson & INF Greg Norton Designated for Assignment
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Bill Bavasi announced today that the Mariners have recalled outfielder Wladimir Balentien and catcher Jeff Clement from AAA Tacoma. To make room on the Major League, 25-man roster, Seattle has designated infielder Greg Norton and outfielder Brad Wilkerson for assignment.
Balentien (#50) and Clement (#9) will be in uniform and available for tonight’s 7:05 pm (ET) game at the Cleveland Indians.
Seattle now has 10 days to trade, release, option or assign Norton and Wilkerson outright to the minors.
Balentien, 23, was hitting .254 (16×63) with 5 doubles, 6 homers and 20 RBI in 17 games with AAA Tacoma this season. On Monday night, he hit three home runs, including an inside-the-park homer, versus New Orleans. It was his second game back in the lineup after missing eight games with a bruised left knee. Balentien made his ML debut last season with the Mariners, joining the club on Sept 4. In 3 games, he hit .667 (2×3) with a double and a HR. His first ML homer came on Sept. 26 (G#1) off of Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona.
Balentien was the PCL Rookie of the Year in 2007 after hitting .291 with 24 doubles, 4 triples, 24 home runs and 84 RBI in 124 games with Tacoma.
Clement, 24, was hitting .397 (31×78) with 8 doubles, 5 homers and 20 RBI in 23 games with AAA Tacoma this season. He walked 22 times, while striking out just 12 times. Clement made his ML debut last season with the Mariners, joining the club on Sept 4. In 9 games, he hit .375 (6×16) with a double and 2 HR. His first ML homer was a game-tying pinch-hit blast in the 9th, Sept. 26 (G #2) vs. Cleveland. His second homer was Sept. 28, a two-run walk-off shot vs. Texas.
Clement hit .275 with 35 doubles, 3 triples, 20 homers and 80 RBI in 125 games with Tacoma last season.
Norton, 35, was signed by Seattle as a minor league free agent on Feb. 13, 2008. He hit .438 (7×16) in 6 games with Seattle this year. Norton began this season with Tacoma where he was hitting .409 (9×22) with 2 doubles and 3 RBI in 7 games with the Rainiers. He’s a career .253 hitter with 114 doubles, 82 HR and 300 RBI in 12 seasons (901 Major League games) with the White Sox (1996-2000), Colorado (2001-2003), Detroit (2004), Tampa Bay (2006-2007) & Seattle (2008).
Wilkerson, 30, was signed by Seattle as a free agent on Jan. 31, 2008. He hit .232 (13×56) in 19 games with Seattle this year. He’s a career .249 hitter with 185 doubles, 118 HR and 376 RBI in 8 seasons (887 Major League games) with Montreal/Washington (2001-05), Texas (2006-2007) & Seattle (2008).