MINNEAPOLIS -- Catcher Jesus Montero, who was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma on May 23, was diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his left knee on Saturday and will undergo surgery next week, the Mariners announced.
Montero, 23, is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
The highly-regarded youngster was sent down after hitting just .208 with three homers and nine RBIs in 29 games for Seattle. He batted .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in 135 games in 2012 for the Mariners after being acquired from the Yankees in a trade for Michael Pineda.
Montero hit .250 with three doubles and a triple in seven games with Tacoma, but didn't play the past two days. He'd been playing mostly first base with the Rainiers, as the Mariners are attempting to transition him to the new position.
Bonderman to make first start since 2010
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jeremy Bonderman joined the Mariners on Saturday, but won't officially be added to the roster until Sunday morning prior to his first Major League start since 2010 with the Tigers.
The veteran right-hander has been recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and will start Sunday's 11:10 a.m. PT game against the Twins' Scott Diamond. The Mariners will have to make a roster move to add Bonderman both to their 25-man Major League roster as well as their 40-man roster.
Manager Eric Wedge said the eight-year veteran is eager to get a return shot at the Majors after sitting out the past two seasons while having surgeries on his shoulder and elbow. Bonderman signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners last winter and competed for a rotation spot in the spring, but wasn't quite ready and spent the first two months at Tacoma.
"He's under control, but you can tell he's excited to be here," Wedge said. "For a 30-year-old, he's been through so much. He's worked so hard to get back here, that's been evident here for the last year. So, good for him. He deserves the opportunity."
Bonderman went 2-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 11 starts in Tacoma, pitching better as he went along in his first regular-season action since his last start with the Tigers on Oct. 1, 2010, at Baltimore.
"It's been good for him to be down there and pitch every fifth day," Wedge said. "He's been pretty consistent down there. His arm's been good, his stuff's been good. It's just a matter of how it translates up here, really."
Wedge hopeful Smoak can return Sunday
MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Smoak and Michael Morse were both sidelined again on Saturday as the Mariners took on the Twins in the second game of their three-game series, but manager Eric Wedge said he thinks Smoak could be back in the lineup on Sunday.
The first baseman has missed seven straight starts since feeling tightness in his right oblique muscle after checking his swing last Saturday against the Rangers.
Morse has missed three games with a strained quadriceps muscle in his right leg.
"I'm hoping we can start Smoaker tomorrow," Wedge said prior to Saturday's game. "We'll probably stay away from Morse another day, and then we'll take some BP tomorrow and see how he is then."
Smoak pinch-hit on Wednesday in San Diego in a situation where he could swing right-handed, but the switch-hitter continues to be hesitant to swing fully left-handed and re-aggravate the injury. The Twins are starting southpaw Scott Diamond on Sunday, so Smoak will be able to hit right-handed in that game.
The Mariners will also see lefty John Danks on Monday in Seattle when they host the White Sox, but then they'll face a pair of righties -- Jake Peavy and Dylan Axelrod -- on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ryan on the upswing at the plate
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan won't ever be known for his bat, but the defensive standout hit .345 over his past 16 games entering Saturday against the Twins to lift his batting average from .122 to .214. In Saturday's 5-4 walk-off loss, Ryan went 1-for-4, and is now hitting .215.
And after batting .194 in 2012, it's a very positive trend for the 31-year-old, who says he's developing a more positive approach at the plate.
"I don't think I had a choice," Ryan said after going 2-for-4 in Friday's 3-0 win. "There was nowhere to go but up for a while there. Yeah, there was some mechanical stuff in the cage and all that. That's half of it. But the other half is just willing things to happen and believing and knowing that you're a whole lot better than a buck-twenty."
Ryan said he's taken a cue from veteran teammate Raul Ibanez on his mental attitude after driving himself crazy with frustration at times in the past.
"It's just willing things to change," he said. "If it's a broken-bat hit or a drag bunt, whatever it is, just get something to start snowballing. And then when you're believing in yourself, good things can happen. Nobody displays that any better than Raul.
"He made an example of Derek Jeter, saying this guy would will people to collide and have infield doubles, just crazy stuff would happen. The point was, he's got a positive mindset and believes good things are going to happen and good things do happen.
"Employing some of that has kind of helped. That and [manager Eric Wedge] staying with me and giving me opportunity after opportunity, you want to make good of it. I want to do what he expects of me, and I know he expected a whole lot more. And I did it myself. We've still got a long way to go, but things are on the right track, and at this point I'm just trying to compete and put good swings on the ball and swing at the good ones."
• Top catching prospect Mike Zunino hit a pair of home runs, including the go-ahead shot with two outs in the ninth, as Triple-A Tacoma pulled out a 6-5 win at Colorado Springs on Friday. Zunino was hitting .237 with 11 home runs and 41 RBIs in 40 games entering Saturday. Dustin Ackley and Franklin Gutierrez were each 2-for-4 in the game.
• Kendrys Morales finished May with a .343 average, 11 doubles, five home runs and 23 RBIs for the month. His 16 extra-base hits are the most in a month by a Mariners player since Jose Lopez had 16 in August 2009, and his 23 RBIs are the most in May since Jose Guillen's 24 in 2007.
• Raul Ibanez also had an excellent May, as he posted a 1.031 OPS, the fourth-highest mark of any American League hitter with at least 50 plate appearances. The only AL players ahead of him were Miguel Cabrera (1.222), Chris Davis (1.210) and Mike Trout (1.073).