The Seattle Mariners activated Matt Mangini from the 15-day DL earlier this afternoon, and immediately assigned him to the Tacoma Rainiers. Sending him to AAA comes as no real surprise, as Mangini had very little playing time in Spring Training while nursing a quad injury. Mangini is already in the lineup for tonight’s game in Cheney Stadium, and will be DH’ing this evening
According to Mike Curto, Mangini will be playing “a lot” of first base with Tacoma now that he’s healthy and on the roster. His natural position, third base, will continue to be manned by Alex Liddi. Where this leaves Matt Tuiasosopo, who had been taking the lions’ share of the first base starts so far, is not yet known.
Neither Mangini nor Liddi is a particularly good defender at third base, and both might ultimately wind up primarily as first basemen down the road. Still, I had felt that Mangini was probably the better defender of the two, thanks in large part to his surprisingly good range, especially moving to his left. This likely indicates that the organization sees Liddi as the better long-term fit at the position, and that Mangini could possibly wind up assuming some sort of utility role, possibly eventually learning to play in the corners of the outfield as well.
Mangini had pretty much dropped out of the prospect picture before a resurgent 2010 season, but even now his defensive concerns limit his value. His upside and quantity of playing time would probably be best served by learning the aforementioned utility role, especially if he could become an acceptable defender in the outfield.
As for Tuiasosopo, he might now be the odd man out. With Mangini apparently above him on the first base depth chart (and presumably at third as well), Tui’s playing time becomes more limited now, especially considering how crowded the outfield is (they’re already playing Mike Carp, a natural first baseman, in left field nearly every day). Don’t be shocked if Tui is included in a low-level trade, or is straight-up DFA’d to make roster space for a non-roster player the organization needs in the majors.
In order to make room on the roster for Mangini, the Rainiers sent Jetsy Extrano back to extended spring camp. Extrano had only just returned to Tacoma on Monday when Mike Wilson was placed on the DL.
The Organizational Depth Chart has been updated to reflect Manigni’s activation.