The Seattle Mariners will open the season with a rookie in the outfield.
Just not the one most expected.
Jarred Kelenic, projected as one of the top five prospects in baseball, was reassigned to minor league camp. He batted .300 and hit two homers this spring but appeared in just 10 games because of a Grade 2 adductor strain and has never played above the Double-A level.
Instead, the Mariners will open the regular season Thursday night at home against the San Francisco Giants with Taylor Trammell patrolling the outfield.
Trammell, a top-100 prospect acquired from the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline last season, hit .311 with three homers and nine RBIs in 45 Cactus League plate appearances.
“He certainly earned it,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of the promotion to the majors. “He’s had a heck of a spring training. I think the sky’s the limit for him and he’s gonna get plenty of opportunities to show what he can do at the major league level.”
Trammell was scheduled to start in left field, but he might have to move to center depending on the health of reigning American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis. Former All-Star Mitch Haniger is back in right after missing most of the past two seasons, including all of 2020, with injuries.
Lewis sustained a bone bruise in his right knee while running into the outfield wall March 22 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We’ll see how Kyle is coming along and progressing,” Servais said. “I’m very hopeful that he can be available for us on Opening Night. But if he’s not, we’ll adjust. We need to play the long game on this. I know we get all excited about April 1 and Opening Night and what it means to our team, but we have 161 games to play after that. So just trying to rush back for one night, we’re not going to do that.”
Left-hander Marco Gonzales (7-2, 3.11 ERA in 2020; 1-1, 6.75 in two career starts against San Francisco) is scheduled to start for the Mariners against Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-3, 3.62 ERA in 2020; 1-2, 2.88 in six career appearances, including five starts, against Seattle).
The Mariners (27-33) finished third in the AL West in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The Giants (29-31) came in third in the National League West and barely missed the expanded playoffs in the first year under manager Gabe Kapler.
The Giants’ biggest bump this season might be from the return of six-time All-Star catcher Buster Posey, who opted out of the 2020 season. The 2012 NL MVP and wife Kristen adopted premature newborn girls, and he chose to stay home to help care for them.
“He’s been kind of like the team captain the last 10 years,” Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. “To not have a guy like that in your lineup night in, night out was a little bit tougher last year. We managed to get pretty close and have a shot at the playoffs until the last game of the season. He’s definitely a difference-maker, and it’s always nice to have him back in the clubhouse and on the field.”
Added Kapler: “There has been a different buzz around Buster. (He’s) smiling a lot. He just seems to be in a really good place.”
–Field Level Media