The Mariners have their captain back: J.P. Crawford has been reinstated after missing a week in the concussion protocol following a scary collision with fellow infielder Eugenio Suárez back on August 9th in a game against the Padres. Crawford completed a brief rehab assignment with the Everett AquaSox on Saturday night and will join the team in Chicago.
The team has held up well without their captain, going 7-3 over the ten games where J.P. was out, but his defense was sorely missed, as was his ability to get on base out of the leadoff spot; his .379 OBP leads the team by a significant margin (Cade Marlowe and José Caballero, both in the low 360s, are next). With Caballero, Dylan Moore, and Josh Rojas all in a time-share for the second base position, and Moore able to spend time in the outfield as well, superutility Sam Haggerty was optioned back to Tacoma, although not without making his mark during the Astros series:
The one negative from the series in Houston was the early exit of young starter Emerson Hancock; today the Mariners announced Hancock has been transferred to the 15-day IL with a right shoulder strain. This is slightly concerning news as that’s the same shoulder/muscle that’s given Hancock trouble in the past: in 2020 he was shut down with shoulder fatigue; he had a shoulder impingement in 2021 that also ended his season early; and then he missed the start of his 2022 season with a lat strain. The extent of this injury is unclear, but it’s troubling that it’s connected to an area that’s been a constant source of pain for him over his career.
RHP Darren McCaughan has been recalled from Tacoma in Hancock’s place; he’ll provide some length for an exhausted bullpen, if necessary, and then likely return to Tacoma to make room for Bryan Woo, expected to be activated for a start on Wednesday. It’s unlikely the Mariners will be able to progress with the six-man rotation they had planned to go to, or at the least, they’ll have to get very creative with how they do it in order to manage Woo’s innings down the stretch.