SEATTLE -- Mike Zunino took another step toward rejoining the Mariners, taking batting practice before Saturday's game against the Angels and earning rave reviews from manager Eric Wedge. Zunino has been out of the lineup since breaking the hamate bone in his left wrist while swinging a bat on July 25.
While the catcher was initially expected to be out for six weeks, the pace of his recovery indicates that he could be back as soon as next week.
"Zunino's been great, his batting practice yesterday was without hesitation," Wedge said. "Looked good, looked great, fouled a couple pitches off. … Throwing today went fine, so I think he's on the path; what we'll look to do the next couple days is everything. Catch bullpens, take batting practice. If all is well, we'll get him out."
The Mariners signed Humberto Quintero to split time at catcher with Henry Blanco in Zunino's absence. The 34-year-old veteran has played well, hitting .260 with a pair of home runs in 15 games.
Zunino impressed coaches and teammates with his defensive prowess, and he was coming around at the plate before his injury. In the five games leading up to his injury, Zunino was hitting .333 with a home run and five walks.
Franklin back in lineup after knee injury heals
SEATTLE -- Nick Franklin returned to the Mariners' starting lineup on Sunday for the first time since gashing his knee in a home-plate collision against Oakland on Tuesday. He saw his first action as a pinch-hitter in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Angels.
"It's a little sore, but nothing to keep me from staying in the game," Franklin said. "I didn't really know what it meant, but I knew I was ready and when the time came I was going to be ready to contribute. But I didn't necessarily think it would mean I played today."
Franklin's injury required five stitches, and the collision broke the big toe of A's catcher Derek Norris. Manager Eric Wedge said that Franklin was able to rehab his knee quickly, and he credited the team's trainers with getting him in game shape.
"He was fine; they really worked him out good before the game yesterday, which was the first step for us to make sure he was even available to pinch-hit," Wedge said. "Then when I was told he was available to pinch-hit, run and even play defense, that's when I knew I could go to him earlier, like we did in the seventh inning."
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.