Per the Mariners Twitter account this afternoon, the M’s have designated catcher Kelly Shoppach for assignment and signed veteran 41-year old Henry Blanco to be the team’s latest backstop. Blanco, when he plays, will be the sixth different catcher the Mariners have used this season.
Shoppach hit just .196 with three home runs and nine RBI in 35 games with the Mariners. He was originally slated to backup Jesus Montero at the beginning of the year, but has served as Seattle’s primary catcher since Montero’s demotion. Per Larry Stone, Shoppach was hitting .167 since April 11 and .136 since April 30.
Blanco is a 16-year MLB veteran who debuted in 1997 with the Dodgers. He hit .184 in 15 games for the Blue Jays last season. Blanco has never been much of a hitter and has never played more than 114 games in a season, breaking the 100 mark just twice in his career.
However, Blanco is known for his mentoring skills, and that suggests the Mariners will turn the keys over to Mike Zunino behind the plate. With Blanco’s guidance, the M’s will likely play Zunino at catcher five to six times per week for the rest of 2013. Whether or not this move is prudent remains to be seen, but Jack Zdurencik and Eric Wedge are certainly putting all of their eggs in Zunino’s basket.