Saturday night’s comeback victory over the Houston Astros appeared somewhat pyrrhic, with several injuries waylaying an already shorthanded Seattle Mariners lineup. Fortunately, Jerry Dipoto announced on MLB Network radio this morning that Julio Rodríguez’s x-rays were negative after being hit in the wrist/hand area with a 97 mph fastball from Astros reliever Rafael Montero.
Jerry Dipoto of the Mariners just told us that the X-rays on Julio Rodriguez’ hand were “negative and he’s going through ongoing assessments in Houston as we speak “ @MLBNetworkRadio More of his interview now XM 89— Jim Duquette (@Jim_Duquette) July 31, 2022
Seattle is not out of the woods yet, as there could still be any number of issues for Rodríguez ranging from a simple contusion to a bone bruise or even a hairline fracture too small to be detected so soon after the initial injury. That said, the absolute worst case appears off the table, so a sigh of relief is warranted. We’ll likely learn later this morning what the club’s initial assessment is, and whether they may get Julio an MRI as soon as possible. A 10-day IL stint seems quite plausible in any situation, particularly given the injuries to multiple utility players last night and the limited nature of Kyle Lewis at this time. Seattle has off-days on Thursday both this week and next week, so they could reasonably afford him 12 days of healing, particularly with Mitch Haniger close to returning, reportedly as soon as Friday.
In the meantime, the Mariners have baseball games to play, and difficult decisions to make. Jarred Kelenic has been promoted to the bigs once again, though the particular move(s) have yet to be clarified and may be dependent both on specific health as well as travel time.
Hearing Kelenic will not arrive until around game time.— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) July 31, 2022
Tough to tell who's available today. Haggerty received 8 stitches over his left eyebrow. Moore is feeling a bit better but I'd be surprised if he was in the lineup. Could see Frazier in CF again. Julio in training room.
Additionally, Seattle has a couple of players from “nearby” Double-A Arkansas on hand, more easily recalled from Tulsa, OK where the Travelers are playing the Drillers this weekend than the Tacoma Rainiers who are home hosting El Paso.
It was outfielder Jack Larsen, who is with AA Arkansas.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 31, 2022
It's likely Larsen and Scheiner are taxi squad guys here in case of an emergency https://t.co/0yVo1rpCSz
That means OF Jack Larsen and 1B/3B/cOF Jake Scheiner are present in case of all three of Rodríguez, Sam Haggerty, and Dylan Moore needing IL stints. We’ll know more closer to game time.
Update: Dylan Moore and Julio Rodríguez to the IL
Julio to the IL, same for Dylan Moore.— Corey Brock (@CoreyBrockMLB) July 31, 2022
OF Jack Larsen up from Double A.
Kelenic en route, will be here before game and on lineup card.
Ty France got an MRI on left wrist, waiting for results.
The two Mariners currently to the injured list are Julio and D-Mo, though there appears to be a chance Ty France joins them. Given that France has been powering through lingering wrist pain, it may be prudent to send him to the IL as well, though Seattle is shorthanded to the point of cartoonishness at this point.
France tweaked his sore wrist on his final AB swinging and missing on a changeup. He was in noticeable discomfort. Servais said it bothers him on swings and misses https://t.co/YFfr4hcrv3— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) July 31, 2022
This helps explain Scheiner’s presence on the taxi squad. Game time in Seattle is in roughly one hour so... we’ll see what this next week looks like, it might be rough. On the plus side, this is a huge opportunity for at least two M’s longtime farmhands. For Kelenic, it’s a chance to show he’s made improvements in Tacoma that will lastingly benefit his offensive ability. He is likely to play a lot in Julio’s and Moore’s absence, even if/when Mitch Haniger returns in the next week or so.
Beyond that, however, it’s an absolutely stunning career path for Jack Larsen in particular that is a reminder of the layers upon layers of unlikelihood that go into professional baseball. An undrafted free agent out of UC San Diego who joined the Mariners organization in 2017, back when the draft was 40 rounds, Larsen has hit well at every level he’s played. The problem for the 6’1 lefty has been his age. Already older to start his career, Larsen has been roughly 2-3 years older than league-average at every stage of his pro career. That doesn’t mean his performance was invalid, but there’s a reason the 27-year-old was not on most prospect lists despite a .266/.371/.444 line with 17 home runs in 125 games at Double-A Arkansas between last year and this season.
That said, Larsen has some internal acclaim, particularly in the form of respect from his teammates. Several players called Larsen the best hitter they’d ever played with in the low and mid minors, and his continued commitment to the absolute longest of odds has culminated today in a confluence of luck and thousands upon thousands of hours spent sticking with a career path that was all but certain to never end in a big league call-up. And yet, here today, Jack Larsen is a big leaguer. Not a single member of the Mariners 2017 draft class is currently active for the Mariners big league club (get better soon Evan White) but Jack Larsen is. Congratulations to him and may his cup of coffee runneth over.