Shortstop Shake-Up

The Rainiers received some bad news on Monday night, learning it will be without shortstop Ketel Marte for approximately six weeks due to a broken left thumb.

Marte suffered the injury sliding into second base on Sunday. He tried to stay in the game, but in the next inning he made a diving attempt at a grounder and when his glove hand (with the thumb inside it) hit the ground, he felt more pain and came out of the game.

Bob Dutton of The News Tribune reported last night that the thumb was broken, and six weeks is the expected timetable.

Until Monday, Marte was the only player in the PCL to play in every game. He leads the league in hits (68) and ranks second in batting average (.343).

Tacoma was only without a shortstop for one day. The Mariners have optioned Chris Taylor to Tacoma and I’m sure he’ll take over as the starting shortstop tonight.

RAINIERS ROUND-UP

Yesterday: Apparently I jinxed it. Not only did Tacoma fail to sweep the Round Rock Express, the Rainiers got creamed in the series finale on Monday afternoon, 14-3.

Roster Moves: This is going to be long. Before yesterday’s game pitcher James Gillheeney was sent to Double-A Jackson, pitcher Edgar Olmos was placed on the paternity leave list, pitcher Lucas Luetge was added to the roster, and infielder Jhombeyeker Morales joined the club from extended spring training. During yesterday’s game, pitcher Mayckol Guaipe was called up by Seattle and infielder Chris Taylor was optioned to Tacoma. Today the Mariners will call up Mike Montgomery, and someone (probably a reliever) will be optioned to Tacoma.

Today: New Orleans (25-24) at Tacoma (22-30), 6:05.

Opponent Affiliation: New Orleans is the Miami Marlins affiliate.

Season Series: First game tonight.

Starting Pitchers: LHP Justin Nicolino (4-1, 2.05) at RHP Danny Farquhar (0-0, 16.20)

Yes, Farquhar is starting today, and it is his first professional start. Tacoma manager Pat Listach said they want Farquhar to use his full assortment of pitches and not just his cutter, and a starting assignment presents a better opportunity to do that. However, Bob Dutton of The News Tribune reports (notebook link below) that Farquhar is being stretched out as a starting rotation option. Whatever the case may be, he’s unlikely to go more than two or three innings tonight.

Nicolino is regarded as one of the Marlins top prospects and he is having a terrific season in the PCL so far.

Injury Update: Ketel Marte broke his left thumb and is out for around six weeks. Stefen Romero has missed ten straight games with a hip flexor.

Hot Rainiers: Franklin Gutierrez is 14-for-33 over a nine-game hitting streak. Reliever Logan Bawcom has allowed just one run in his last 14.1 innings pitched.

Look Out For: Left-handed pitchers. New Orleans is scheduled to start four consecutive left-handers against the Rainiers in this series, which is quite rare in the PCL (or anywhere, for that matter). Outfielder Jordanny Valdespin has a nine-game hitting streak.

Welcome Back: New Orleans has former Rainiers Brandon Bantz, Cole Gillespie, and Travis Blackley on its roster.

Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 5:50 (Pacific) on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.

PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.

Links:

Today marks the New Orleans Zephyrs first game at Cheney Stadium since August 8, 2012. The Zephyrs won that one, 5-3, on a three-run homer by Chris Coughlan off Tacoma’s Hector Noesi.

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