Brandon Bantz Lives his Dream, Gutierrez Re-Lives His Nightmare

Otto Greule Jr

Brandon Bantz gets to live a dream most thought he'd never get the chance to live.

Last night, Jesus Sucre suffered a hand injury that will keep him out for at least a few days. There was some speculation that this could lead to the call-up of Mike Zunino, but he clearly isn't ready. The team has been struggling with the 40-man roster all year, but made room today by placing Franklin Gutierrez on the 60-day DL. Gutierrez had just completed a rehab assignment that didn't go particularly well, and the team determined he just wasn't ready to play at the MLB level despite playing every day in AAA. So it's off to the 60-day for the eternally injured Gutierrez, and the chances of seeing Gutierrez play center field ever again for the Mariners just took another hit. Drayer adds that Gutierrez will be able to come off the DL 6/22, as it's retroactive back to April.

In a corresponding move, the Mariners optioned Carlos Triunfel back to AAA, and recalled catcher Brandon Bantz, who will fill in for Sucre for the next how ever many days, since Sucre's injury isn't serious enough to put him on the DL.

Brandon Bantz was never supposed to be here. A 30th round pick out of Dallas Baptist in 2009, Bantz has scuffled at the plate most of his career, and even spent some time in Australian League baseball. Bantz compiled a .223/.260/.339 line across several minor league levels last year, but spent the majority of the season in AA.

Brandon Bantz is a guy that many would refer to as organizational filler. All indications are that he's a good defensive catcher (48% career CS in the minors), but he can't hit a lick. Organizations like to have guys like him to help young pitchers along, but they're never expected to rise or amount to much.

A lot of things broke right for Bantz to be here today. Jesus Montero flamed out, and the organization lost a catcher because of it. The guy who came up to replace him opened another hole in the minors, and Bantz moved up to AAA despite hitting a miserable .178/.229/.267 in AA. Bantz was a back-up in AAA to Zunino - not a guy with much of a future in the organization. But when Sucre got hurt, it was him who got the call, and not the organization's top hitting prospect. Suddenly the catcher who isn't supposed to be here is replacing the catcher who wasn't supposed to be here either.

We shouldn't say Brandon Bantz doesn't deserve this, or disparage what he's accomplished in his career. Sometimes in order to get promoted, you simply have to show up every day, work hard, and opportunities may come. Today's that day.

Bantz may never get another chance to put on a Major League Baseball uniform after this stint, but today he'll sit with players who play at a level he has surely dreamed of playing at his entire life. That's a magical thing.

So here's to Brandon Bantz. May your cup of coffee be as delicious as it can possibly be.

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