SEATTLE (AP) -The Seattle Mariners' need for speed lasted 10 games.
The struggling offensive team purchased the contract of veteran pinch-hitter Greg Norton from Triple-A Tacoma Friday and designated speedy reserve Charlton Jimerson for assignment.
The 35-year-old Norton was available for Seattle's series opener against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night. He's in to provide offense to a team that entered the night last in the AL with a .232 batting average, with three starters batting .139 or below. Norton hit 17 home runs in 98 games for Tampa Bay in 2006, his last injury-free season.
``We're hoping this gives us a spark,'' Mariners manager John McLaren said.
Norton was batting .409 in seven games at Tacoma.
``I was just running around down there,'' he said. ``I had a date when I was just going to go home and be with my kids.''
When asked if he was getting close to that time before the Mariners called, Norton smiled and said, ``I can't say that.''
Jimerson, a former fifth-round pick of Houston, was the last player to make the Mariners out of camp. He led all Seattle minor leaguers last season with 35 stolen bases in 99 games. The Mariners planned on using him as a pinch-runner to steal a key base late in games.
But they weren't getting many base runners. Jimerson appeared in just two of the first 10 games.
``We never did'' get to use him the way Seattle envisioned, McLaren said.
The Mariners now have 10 days to either trade the 28-year-old, release him or assign him to the minor leagues should he clear waivers.
``I'm still ... I'm just shocked,'' Jimerson said, obviously upset amid a parade of teammates and coaches hugging him goodbye and good luck. ``It's 10 games today, right?
``I guess it's because of a lack of offense. I really don't know where I fit in that equation.''
Seattle's Friday also included continued progress by closer J.J. Putz. Last season's All-Star, out since injuring his ribcage while blowing a save April 1, threw on flat ground for the third consecutive day with no problems. He is eligible to come off the disabled list April 17, but still has to get on a mound and at least do some bullpen work first.
``I don't know the next step,'' McLaren said, meaning when or what.
Seattle entered Friday with a bullpen ERA of 6.75, 29th in the major leagues.
As for Jimerson, he has appeared in 31 major league games since 2005 and hit a home run for Houston in his first major-league plate appearance in '06 while pinch-hitting for Roger Clemens. He isn't planning on going to Triple-A Tacoma.
``I believe I'm a major league ballplayer,'' Jimerson said. ``And I believe that what other teams will feel when they see my name pop up on the waiver wire.''
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