After collecting just eight hits in 48 at-bats since being called up from AAA Tacoma on April 30th, the Mariners have optioned Jeff Clement back to the Rainiers.
There was no official word of a corresponding call-up, but current Rainier Jeremy Reed was seen in the Mariner clubhouse after the team's 3-2 win over San Diego on Sunday afternoon. Presumably, Reed will be traveling with the team to Detroit and activated in time for Tuesday night's game. He did not play on Sunday afternoon for Tacoma. Reed is having a spectacular season with the Rainiers, batting .349 in 38 games with six home runs and more walks (16) than strikeouts (14). With the Mariners lagging at the bottom of the majors in on-base percentage, Reed brings a .413 OBP with him from AAA.
The move gives the Mariners some more options defensively. The lefty Reed can spell right-handed Wladimir Balentien in right field, or he can play left field to give Raul Ibanez some at-bats as DH. Reed, a natural center fielder, could even play there and move Ichiro back to his more-familiar spot in right.
Clement's role with the team was muddled from the start. With Kenji Johjima recently getting a three-year extension, there was little opportunity for playing time at catcher. And with Jose Vidro improving physically, he stands to get the lion's share of the at-bats at DH for the forseeable future (due to his $8 million salary). Reed's ability to play the outfield gives John McLaren more flexibility in his lineup for the time being.