Johjima put on DL with broken big toe

Updated: May 26, 2009, 9:09 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Seattle Mariners placed Kenji Johjima on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a broken big toe, an injury that could sideline the Japanese catcher for two months.

The Mariners surprisingly selected catcher Guillermo Quiroz from Double-A West Tennessee to back up Rob Johnson, who started Tuesday night's game against the Oakland Athletics. Replacing Johjima's relatively lively bat with Johnson, who's hitting just .188 with no homers this season, is another blow to one of the majors' least productive offenses.

Johjima
Johjima

The 32-year-old Johjima was injured Monday when Oakland's Adam Kennedy accidentally spiked his left foot on a play at the plate. Johjima, who's hitting .250 with 10 RBIs this season, stayed in the game and homered one inning later, but postgame X-rays revealed a serious injury.

Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said further tests Tuesday indicated Johjima will be out six to eight weeks -- two weeks more than Wakamatsu anticipated Monday.

The Mariners then bypassed veteran Jamie Burke and rising youngsters Adam Moore and Jeff Clement to promote Quiroz, a former top prospect from Venezuela with 95 games of major league experience with four franchises, including 56 games in Baltimore last season.

"I had been with him in Texas, so I know his skill set," said Wakamatsu, the Rangers' bench coach in 2007 when Quiroz played nine games with Texas. "I've seen him enough to know what to expect about his playing ability. The rest is going to be about how he plays when he gets the opportunity."

To make room for Quiroz on the 40-man roster, left-hander Cesar Jimenez was transferred to the 60-day DL.

Johjima is on the disabled list for the second time this season after missing the second half of April with a strained hamstring. He has a .270 career batting average in four seasons with the Mariners.

Clement, the third overall pick in the 2005 draft, has a knee injury that's preventing him from catching for Triple-A Tacoma, where he's playing well as a designated hitter. Moore has been with Tacoma for just two weeks, batting .273 after his promotion from Double-A, and Wakamatsu said he "wasn't quite ready."

The Mariners also considered Burke, the 37-year-old veteran who played 98 games with Seattle over the past two seasons. Burke went 1 for 13 in four games with the Mariners during Johjima's first DL stint this season.

"Jamie has a strong relationship with the pitching staff, but we talk about wanting to move forward with younger players," said Wakamatsu, who broke the news to Burke in a pregame phone call. "It wasn't an easy conversation."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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