Welcome to Seattle, Chris Shelton
The Rainiers used Chris Shelton at DH tonight, then pinch hit for him in the 9th inning (h/t Ryan Divish). That’s because they didn’t want him to get hurt in his farewell to Tacoma (he’ll be replaced down there by newly signed Alex Cintron). He’ll join the Mariners roster tomorrow, with Jason Vargas (most likely) getting optioned to Triple-A to open up a roster spot. We talked about this happening the other day – with the team not needing a 5th starter again until July 25th, Vargas can get work in Tacoma while Shelton can take Sweeney’s roster spot and act as Junior’s platoon partner/backup first baseman.
If Shelton comes out of the gate and hits, he could stick on the roster for a while. By adding him to the 40 man, the M’s lose the ability to send him back to Tacoma without putting him through waivers, and there’s a pretty decent chance he’d get claimed. With Sweeney’s back being a persistent problem, and his offense not justifying a roster spot, the M’s aren’t going to want to lose their insurance policy if they don’t have to. If Shelton’s swinging the bat well when Sweeney is eligible to come off the DL on July 21st, don’t be surprised if Mike is asked to take one for the team and keep “rehabbing” for a while.