Seattle Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley completed a precipitous fall from grace when he was demoted to the minors Monday.
In 2009, Ackley was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Two years later, he emerged as the Mariners' starting second baseman, and he finished sixth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.
After batting .273 with a .348 on-base percentage in 2011, Ackley saw those numbers fall to .226 and .294 last year, when he played 153 games. This year, Ackley is hitting .205 with a .266 on-base percentage, one homer and eight RBIs through 45 games, and he was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.
Ackley, 25, was hitless in his past 25 at-bats.
"It was just time," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "Obviously, we've fought for the guy for quite a period of time. We wanted to make it work up here and not do that, but ultimately we didn't feel like we could take it any further."
The Mariners called up infielder Nick Franklin from Tacoma, where he was batting .324 with a .440 on-base percentage, four home runs, 20 RBIs and seven steals in 39 games. Franklin, 22, was another first-round pick in 2009, the 27th overall selection.
Franklin has played both shortstop and second base in the minors, but he figures to see regular work at second in Seattle.
Ackley was the second young everyday Seattle starter to be optioned to Triple-A in less than a week, joining catcher Jesus Montero.
The Mariners made several other transactions Monday.
Right-hander Hector Noesi will get another chance to prove himself as a long reliever. He was recalled from Tacoma, where he allowed six runs in five innings in his lone outing. Noesi, 26, had no decisions and a 2.63 ERA in five games (one start) for the Mariners earlier this season.
Left-hander Lucas Luetge (0-1, 7.15 ERA) was optioned to Triple-A.
Third baseman Francisco Martinez, who was playing in Double-A, was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Franklin. In 34 games for Jackson this season, the 22-year-old was hitting .206 with a .242 on-base percentage, no homers and five RBIs.