France returns to Mariners, how Rodriguez, Haniger, more are progressing

The Mariners got one key bat back in the lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

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First baseman Ty France, who is in the midst of an All-Star season for Seattle, is back at first base and hitting second in the lineup after being out of action since Sunday in Houston due to a wrist injury. All in all, France missed four games with the injury.

France has been one of the M’s top hitters in 2022, slashing .308/380/.477 in 87 games. He and the Mariners will face off with Angels lefty starter Patrick Sandoval.

Mariners Lineup

Adam Frazier, RF
Ty France, 1B
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
Carlos Santana, DH
JP Crawford, SS
Cal Raleigh, C
Jesse Winker, LF
Abraham Toro, 2B
Sam Haggerty, CF

Robbie Ray, SP

Angels Lineup

Taylor Ward, RF
Shohei Ohtani, DH
Luis Rengifo, 2B
Jo Adell, LF
Max Stassi, C
Jared Walsh, 1B
Phillip Gosselin, 3B
Magnerius Sierra, CF
Andrew Velasquez, SS

Patrick Sandoval, SP

Mariners Injury Updates

In addition to getting France back, the Mariners are nearing the returns of a number of key players.

Prior to Friday’s game, manager Scott Servais provided a number of injury updates both for players we’ve seen plenty of this year, but also two of the team’s newest faces.

As for the familiar faces, rookie Julio Rodríguez (hand/wrist) began baseball activity but has yet to swing a bat, Servais said. That will begin on Saturday. Rodríguez is eligible to return next Wednesday against the Yankees, which is the final game of Seattle’s homestand. Servais did not know if the rookie All-Star will be activated for that game or not.

Mitch Haniger, who has played just nine games because of an ankle sprain, is in the midst of a rehab assignment. Servais said Haniger will let the team know when he’s ready to return to the MLB level.

Reliever Diego Castillo (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Friday, his first since being placed on the IL. Servais said Castillo’s shoulder issues have “calmed quite a bit.”

Dylan Moore (back) is also eligible to return next Wednesday, and “feels much better.”

Taylor Trammell (hamstring) is also in the middle of a rehab assignment that Servais said is going well. He’s “moving in the right direction.”

Reliever Ken Giles (shoulder) recently started his rehab assignment and that outing went well, Servais said.

The Mariners also acquired catcher Curt Casali (oblique) and lefty pitcher Matthew Boyd (forearm) at the deadline from the San Francisco Giants. Casali is continuing his rehab assignment in Triple-A while Boyd threw a live batting practice session on Thursday and could be close to being sent out on a rehab assignment of his own. He has yet to pitch in a game at any level in 2022 after undergoing flexor tendon surgery last September.

Servais noted that with so many healthy players close to returning that the Mariners will be making a number of roster decisions in the near future, which “is a good thing.”

Mariners Roster Moves

Travis Jankowski’s stay with the Mariners was short as he was designated for assignment Friday afternoon. Taking his place on both the 40-man roster and 26-man MLB roster is Jake Lamb, a 2017 All-Star while with the Arizona Diamondbacks whom Seattle acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline. Lamb, 31, is a Seattle native who starred at the University of Washington before going pro. Servais told reporters that Lamb will work in the outfield in addition to his natural third base position.

Jankowski wasn’t the only member of the 40-man roster to be DFA’d on Friday. Infielder Kevin Paldo was also designated for assignment as the Mariners claimed outfielder Derek Hill off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. Hill, has appeared in 31 games with Detroit this season, batting .229. He has only played in center field defensively at the MLB level this year.

After those two moves, the Mariners’ 40-man roster is at 39, but that last spot will be filled when Haniger is activated from the 60-day injured list.

Other Mariners Notes

• The Mariners are currently one man short in the bullpen as they are carrying six starting pitchers on the roster. When discussing Giles, Servais said that all relievers on the roster need to be able to work back-to-back days.

• No Mike Trout for the Angels as he’s been on the injured list since mid-July with a rib issue. He’s also reportedly dealing with what has been described as a rare back condition.

• If the Angels’ roster looks different at a glance, that’s because it is. In addition to Trout being out, the Angels traded closer Raisel Iglesias, outfielder Brandon Marsh and starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard at the trade deadline. Los Angeles enters Friday’s contest in fourth place in the AL West with a 44-61 record, fourth-worst in the American League.

• When discussing the Angels before the game, Servais said the Mariners “got an up close and personal look at them” the last time the two teams faced off, referencing the benches-clearing brawl in June. Servais added that, “We will not get that this time. We will go out and play baseball the way it should be. That’s it.”

As Mariners get healthy, what’s in store for France, Kelenic, Santana?

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