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Mariners hope to get injured players back vs. Rangers

Sportsnaut
Jul 8, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby (68) throws against the Toronto Blue Jays during the second inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners put a premium on versatility.

With outfielders Julio Rodriguez (sore left wrist) and Jesse Winker (twisted right ankle) sidelined Monday night in the opener of a three game-series with the visiting Texas Rangers, the Mariners started an outfield, from left to right, of Adam Frazier, Dylan Moore and Sam Haggerty in their 4-3 victory.

By trade, all are second basemen.

“It’s critical having guys who can play multiple positions,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We had, I don’t know what you’d call it, our scatbacks in the outfield.

“Hopefully our lineup looks a little bit different (Tuesday) and we get some of the banged-up guys back in there.”

Rodriguez, who was originally injured while attempting to steal a base July 14 at Texas, has missed all four games since the All-Star break. He went deep 81 times during the Home Run Derby despite finishing second to Washington’s Juan Soto.

“I feel like after the derby, probably after all that, that’s when it started getting maybe getting a little bit worse,” Rodriguez said. “But right now, we’re day to day, and it’s feeling better already.”

Servais was asked before Monday’s game whether Rodriguez should have participated in the annual slugfest.

“It’s not for me to say whether it was a good idea or not,” Servais said. “If I was 21 years old, would I want to participate in the Home Run Derby with millions of people watching me with the greatest players in the world? Yes, I would want to do it. Again, a little setback coming out of it. We will deal with it. I’m not mad at Julio. I love Julio. We all love Julio.”

Winker was hurt Sunday against Houston when he collided with the Astros’ Jeremy Pena after running through the first-base bag.

“I think I stepped on Pena’s foot,” Winker said. “It was like when you roll your ankle playing basketball. It’s not that big of a deal. I rolled it pretty good, but I think I’ll be all right. We’ll see how it feels (Tuesday). As long as it loosens up, I’ll be good to go.”

The Rangers nearly rallied Monday as Nathaniel Lowe led off the ninth with a home run to make it 4-3. Leody Taveras followed with a single and Kole Calhoun walked. Seattle’s Diego Castillo struck out Ezequiel Duran before Erik Swanson got the final two outs.

“We’ve got to continue to have conversations and figure out, ‘OK, there’s a lot of little plays in there that we have to make,'” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “They made some plays, we didn’t. They made some pitches, we didn’t. We had opportunities at the end. If we’re going to win games, we’ve got to find a way to get it done there.”

Tuesday’s scheduled starters are a pair of right-handers — Texas’ Dane Dunning (1-6, 4.42 ERA) and Seattle rookie George Kirby (2-3, 3.78). Dunning is expected to be activated from the injured list after being out since July 11 with an impingement in his right ankle, and Kirby will return from Triple-A Tacoma, where he was sent during the All-Star break.

Dunning is 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three career starts against Seattle. It will be Kirby’s second time facing the Rangers. He didn’t get a decision in a 6-5 Seattle win June 5 in Arlington, Texas, despite allowing just two runs on five hits in six innings.

–Field Level Media