SEATTLE -- Rookie catcher Mike Zunino, sidelined with a broken hamate bone in his left hand since July 26, caught a bullpen session on Friday and has begun swinging the bat as he gets closer to coming off the disabled list.
Zunino said that "things are progressing nicely" as he's gone from hitting off a tee to now hitting tossed balls and playing catch.
"I'm hoping I'll be back soon, not too much longer," said the 22-year-old Zunino, who hit .242 in 29 games for the Mariners before the injury sidelined him.
General manager Jack Zduriencik definitely expects the youngster to be back in the coming days.
"I'm hearing really good things," Zduriencik said. "I know he feels well and is looking forward to seeing how it goes taking batting practice this week. It's a progression. Right now he's on schedule or ahead. I do expect him to certainly be with us in September at the latest."
With Franklin still hobbled, Ackley starts at second
SEATTLE -- Dustin Ackley started at second base in place of Nick Franklin for the Mariners in Friday's homestand opener against the Angels. Franklin has been out since he injured his knee in a home-plate collision with A's catcher Derek Norris in Tuesday's win. Norris suffered a broken toe on the play, while Franklin needed five stitches on his knee.
"It was kind of weird," Franklin said. "I was just going in for the slide and I felt fine and then all of a sudden I just got up and immediately I felt it, so it's just one of those split-second things where his cleat came up and I caught his cleat."
The rookie second baseman said that he would be available as a pinch-hitter in Friday's game, joking that he would have to slide with his opposite leg forward if he got a hit.
Ackley -- the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft -- was drafted as a second baseman, but transitioned to the outfield in Triple-A earlier this season, due in large part to Franklin's emergence as the team's everyday second baseman. The 25-year-old has started just one game at second since May 27.
Franklin has been a bright spot in the Mariners lineup when healthy. Though he has struggled in August, the 22-year-old hit .266 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs in June and July.
• Seattle prospect D.J. Peterson underwent surgery on Friday for a jaw injury sustained when he was hit in the face with a pitch in the third inning of his Class A game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The injury was diagnosed as an open fracture of the left mandible.
Peterson was the Mariners first-round pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. The infielder is hitting .303 (63-for-208) with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs in 55 games combined between short season Rookie league Everett and Class A Clinton.
• The Mariners have come from behind to win in 11 of their last 16 victories. Their 25 comeback wins this season have already surpassed their 2012 season total of 22.
• Zduriencik declined to comment on reports that his contract has been extended for next year, other than to say, "We don't comment on contract issues, but I'm raring to go."
• Zduriencik said no decision had been made yet on whether top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker will join the club when rosters can be expanded in September as he nears his innings limit for the season with Triple-A Tacoma.
"We'll see," said Zduriencik. "We're having discussions about callups at this point. I don't want to be premature in my discussions about any player. Obviously, he's a valued commodity for us and we have to do what's best for Taijuan more than anything else. And doing what's best for Taijuan is what is best for us, short- and long-term."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.