Rookie catcher Mike Zunino was injured last night after taking a foul ball off his hand. Today, the Seattle Mariners signed catcher Humberto Quintero to take his place and alternate catching duties with Henry Blanco until Zunino can return.
Quintero, age 33, was DFA’d by the Philadelphia Phillies just a few days ago, but the catcher opted for free agency instead. Quintero is a career .238 hitter, but is hitting .250 in 24 games for the Phillies so far in 2013. In 11 seasons for the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals and the Phillies, Quintero has never appeared in more than 88 games in a single season.
Quintero will split catching duties with fellow veteran Blanco, who, age 41, was signed earlier this season to give Zunino an occasional break after the former regular catcher Jesus Montero was sent down to Triple-A Tacoma. replacement catcher Kelly Shoppach was released by the team, and rookie Zunino was called up and got the starting job.
It is unlikely that Blanco will be around next season, but if Quintero can prove himself an able catcher and solid hitter, he may find a home in Seattle behind Zunino, or instead of him if Zunino remains injured or lacks offensive production. Offensively, Quintero has his work cut out for him. He has never hit more than four homers in a season and has never tallied more than 25 RBIs. However, with some consistent playing time in front of him in Seattle, this is his chance to prove that he belongs in the lineup regularly. With an injured Zunino, this is about the best Mariners fans could hope for.