Hampered by injuries and illness over the past several months, former Southridge High School standout Shawn O’Malley is set to make his return to a Pacific Northwest ball field Thursday night, though he’ll still be a few miles south of Safeco.
The Seattle Mariners’ AAA affiliate Tacoma Rainiers announced in a tweet that O’Malley — drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays out of high school in 2006, and acquired by the Mariners in December 2014 — will start at second base and bat second for them tonight at home against the Memphis Redbirds.
As a utility player for the Mariners last season, O’Malley played in 89 games, batting .229 with 13 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs while supplying stellar defense at positions all over the diamond.
He was locked in a battle for the same roster spot during spring training with Taylor Motter (now also in Tacoma) and Mike Freeman (designated for assignment by the L.A. Dodgers July 31), but hit a speed bump when he had to get an emergency appendectomy March 21. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list to start the season, but developed a shoulder injury while attempting to return to playing shape, eventually requiring arthroscopic shoulder surgery that moved him to the 60-day DL.
O’Malley began rehabbing with the Arizona (Rookie) League Mariners Jul. 7 — hit .385/.556/.769 (batting average/on-base/slugging) in five games — and hit .250/.417/.393 over eight games with the AA Arkansas Travelers near the end of July.