Romero plays first, exits with bruised knee

Mariners outfielder expected to be OK after leaving win over Padres

Romero plays first, exits with bruised knee

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners outfielder Stefen Romero saw his first action at first base in Thursday's 6-5 win over the Padres and wound up getting knocked out of the game in the fifth inning with a bruised knee.

Romero started in right field, but he moved to first in the fifth and was hurt when Jon Jay -- the third batter of the frame -- ripped a sharp liner that ricocheted so hard off Romero's leg that it rolled to second base and was turned into a 3-6-3 double play by shortstop Tyler Smith.

"That ball was smoked and it was a crazy play," manager Scott Servais said. "We got very, very fortunate. He hasn't had a lot of reps over there either, but he should be fine."

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Romero, 27, had walked and singled in his two at-bats after belting a home run in Wednesday's Cactus League opener.

Romero played first and third base at Oregon State, but he shifted to second after being selected by Seattle in the 2010 Draft, and then he transitioned to the outfield in '13. The Mariners are looking for a right-handed platoon partner for Adam Lind at first base and want Romero to work into that mix along with Jesus Montero, Dae-Ho Lee and Gaby Sanchez.

Veteran Efren Navarro, who joined the Mariners on a Minor League deal on Wednesday, moved from left field to first base to replace Romero, with utility infielder Luis Sardinas taking over at third as Shawn O'Malley shifted from third to left.

The end result was Sardinas getting a chance to belt a pair of two-run doubles on a day he wasn't even expected to play.

"I'll be ready every time, if something happens," said Sardinas, a 22-year-old Venezuelan competing for the utility infield role. "That's part of it. If I make the team, I need to prepare every day for playing."

Worth noting
• Servais said Cuban center fielder Guillermo Heredia will likely get into a Cactus League game in the next few days after joining the team on Wednesday following nearly a two-year layoff since his defection to Mexico.

"He moves really easily in the outfield," Servais said. "Going off our scouting reports, he's a plus-plus defender. I've talked to Edgar [Martinez] a little bit and the hitting guys that have seen him in the cage. There's bat speed there. He just hasn't played in a competitive game in awhile."

• Lee was not with the team on Thursday as he's taking care of a work visa situation, but the Korean slugger should rejoin the Mariners "very, very soon," according to Servais.

• Closer Steve Cishek saw his first action and pitched a scoreless fifth, though he gave up a single and hit a batter. Justin De Fratus, a former Phillies right-hander who signed a one-year deal, gave up a run on back-to-back doubles in the seventh, but then came back and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Servais said De Fratus will likely be used in multiple-inning roles if he makes the club.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.