The Mariners have been through a battle in their season series with the Houston Astros, and their roster will certainly look like it when the two rivals meet for the final time Sunday.
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Seattle has placed All-Star outfielder Julio Rodríguez and key utility player Dylan Moore on the injured list, and both All-Star first baseman Ty France and Sam Haggerty, another key utility player, are out of the lineup with various ailments.
The Mariners had players from both Triple-A Tacoma and Double-A Arkansas fly into Houston for the game, most notably outfielder Jarred Kelenic, who rejoined the team for the first time since being sent down to the Rainiers in May. Outfielder Jack Larsen has also been selected from Arkansas, with relief pitcher Anthony Misiewicz designated for assignment to make room for him on the 40-man roster.
The biggest concern for now is Rodríguez, who took a fastball from Houston reliever Rafael Montero off his right wrist on a swing in Saturday’s Mariners win. While Rodríguez initially stayed in the game to play center field for another inning, he was taken out for a pinch-hitter before his next plate appearance. X-rays were negative for any breaks.
“He’s really sore. I think everybody agrees he’s probably not going to have a bat in his hands in maybe five days at the earliest,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters before Sunday’s game. “Just letting that calm down. I think everybody knows your wrists, your hands, how sensitive that area is when you have a bat in it, so let’s do it right, let’s make sure he’s fully healthy when he comes back.”
Rodríguez also talked Sunday, saying: “Just a bruise, thankfully now the X-rays were negative. We’re gonna keep looking at it but we definitely want to keep trying to improve it as soon as I can so I can get back on the field.”
This is the first injured list stint of Rodríguez’s MLB career. He narrowly missed being placed on the IL due to soreness in his other wrist stemming from a slide on July 10 in Texas, which was aggravated by his participation in the MLB Home Run Derby and All-Star Game the following two days. He missed Seattle’s first four games after the All-Star break as a result.
Moore left Saturday’s game early due to back spasms, while France underwent an MRI on his own wrist, which has given him trouble on swings in recent weeks. Servais was hopeful that France will only need a day or two off before returning. Haggerty, meanwhile, is available off the bench a day after suffering a cut above his left eye from being hit by his own helmet after he spiked it in frustration in the ninth inning Saturday when he failed to get a bunt down and struck out.
The Mariners were barely hanging on by the end of Saturday’s game. Abraham Toro made his first appearance in the outfield ever in an MLB contest, Adam Frazier played center field for the first time since 2018, and France was sent to second base for the first time all year in the final half-inning. France even had to make a difficult play deep in the hole in the shift for the final out.
The Mariners’ lineup certainly looks different for Sunday. Frazier will hit leadoff and play center field, with Toro, who had a go-ahead two-run single pinch-hitting for Rodríguez with two outs in the ninth inning Saturday, taking Frazier’s usual spot at second base.
Larsen, 27, will make his MLB debut in right field and hit ninth. He has been in the Seattle farm system since 2017, when he signed as a free agent out of UC-San Diego. He is hitting .260 with six homers, four triples and 18 doubles this season for the Travelers.
Kelenic was not expected to make it to the stadium until around game time. He is hitting .289 with 11 home runs in 53 games with Tacoma this season, along with 20 walks and 60 strikeouts. Although he was a key player down the stretch for the M’s last season, he had a slash line of just .140/.219/.291 in 30 games to start this season with Seattle and was optioned to the Rainiers on May 13.
Coverage of the 11:10 am game is on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM, SeattleSports.com and the Seattle Sports app. For information on how to stream the game, click here.
Series finale on deck. pic.twitter.com/RIHDja51u8
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 31, 2022
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