Mariners activate Marte, option Romero

Mariners activate Marte, option Romero

SEATTLE -- Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte completed his injury-rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday and officially rejoined Seattle's roster on Monday, which was welcome news for a club that has won just three of its past 10 games since outfielder Leonys Martin joined him on the 15-day disabled list.

"It's nice to have him back," manager Scott Servais said. "The one thing you have to caution against, he hasn't played in a few weeks. I know he's been in Triple-A or whatnot, but to go out there tonight and think you're going to go 5-for-5 and fix the world -- just go play your game, be who he is and he'll be fine."

Marte was 4-for-20 with one double in five rehab games with Tacoma before being activated Monday. The first pitcher he faced while with Tacoma was Tim Lincecum, the former Giants ace making his first start for the Angels' Salt Lake affiliate on Thursday. 

"It was good to face Tim Lincecum," said Marte, who started at shortstop and batted eighth in Monday's series opener against the Indians. "He's a good pitcher. He's got two Cy Youngs. It was fun. My first at-bat, I got a base hit. Next at-bat, a ground ball to second. I faced him three times in that game, a walk and 1-for-2."

Marte had been sidelined since spraining his left thumb sliding into second at Cincinnati on May 21. The Mariners were 5-8 in his absence. He was hitting well for Seattle before his injury (.276 with 14 RBIs in 40 games), and has proven to be a strong defensive presence at shortstop. 

To make room on the roster, the Mariners optioned outfielder Stefen Romero to Tacoma. Romero hit .200 (3-for-15) in eight games, and he committed a costly mental error as well as a fielding error in a critical three-run fifth inning in Sunday's loss to the Rangers.

With Martin's absence in center field also taking a huge toll, the Mariners' defense has been an issue during a rough stretch that has seen them fall three games back of the first-place Rangers in the American League West.

"Nothing to slight the guys that are out there," Servais said. "But Marte and Martin, when we put the club together, obviously with Leonys especially, a big factor in us acquiring him was the defense. I think he's one of the elite defenders in center field in our game. And when he's not out there, no matter who you put out there it's going to be a little bit of a fallback. We'll continue to weather the storm."

Martin has been doing some light running and working out with the team on the road trip, and Servais believes he'll be ready to rejoin the club on Friday against the Rangers when he's eligible to come off the 15-day DL.

Tacoma is in Las Vegas through Tuesday, has Wednesday off and plays at home on Thursday, so it's likely Martin will play one game on Thursday at Cheney Stadium to make sure he's full go before a final decision is made.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. Jim Hoehn contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.