Mariners Insider

Choi’s suspension will open up more playing time for Montero at first base

Post by Todd Milles / The News Tribune on April 17, 2014 at 6:48 pm with 1 Comment »
April 17, 2014 6:48 pm

The rain stuck around Thursday, meaning the Tacoma Rainiers had their fourth home rainout of April.

That makeup game with Salt Lake will be part of a doubleheader Friday to conclude the four-game series. The Rainers and Bees will play a pair of seven-inning games at Cheney Stadium – with the first game scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t a bit of action Thursday. Earlier in the afternoon, the organization announced that first baseman Ji-Man Choi received a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

The PED is methandienone, an anabolic steroid. Choi, 22, who was on the Mariners’ 40-man roster, will be placed on a restricted list without pay for the remainder of the suspension.

Choi’s suspension will open everyday playing time at first base for Jesus Montero, Rainers manager Roy Howell said.

“It is a new position. He’s had some days over there … and with that (Choi) situation, he is going to play almost every day over there,” Howell said. “We’ll make sure the knee is OK, and he will play out there as much as I can possibly put him out there.”

In the first 12 Rainers games, Montero and Choi had split starts at first base right down the middle at six apiece.

Howell said if Montero needs to be spelled over there, utility infielder Leury Bonilla would likely be the first reserve. Other names mentioned included Nate Tenbrink, who is currently on the disabled list with a back injury; Gabriel Noriega and even outfielder Endy Chavez.

“It is not something we are going to worry a whole bunch about,” Howell said. “We plan on (Montero) being there all the time.”

The Rainiers also made a few other moves Thursday, bringing up outfielders Julio Morban from Double-A Jackson, and Chantz Mack. They aren’t expected to see a whole lot of time behind Chavez in center field, Cole Gillespie in right field and Xavier Avery in left field.

Also, relief pitcher Stephen Pryor (shoulder) was reinstated and transferred to Tacoma.

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  1. No bueno.

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