The Mariners announced they’ve placed Julio Rodriguez on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain. Seattle recalled Taylor Trammell from Triple-A Tacoma to take the vacated active roster spot.
Rodríguez has battled back soreness for a few days, and the issue was serious enough the club sent him for an MRI this afternoon. Manager Scott Servais told reporters this evening the team’s doctors were still evaluating the imaging results before determining whether an IL stint would be necessary (via Adam Jude of the Seattle Times). Further specifics on Rodríguez’s condition aren’t clear, but the issue is obviously serious enough that it will cost him at least a week and a half.
There are 12 days remaining in the regular season, so it’s possible Rodríguez makes it back by the start of the postseason. Needless to say, the M’s would surely be better off if he can get back in time for the opening round of the playoffs. With a four-game cushion over the Orioles for the American League’s final Wild Card spot, the Mariners are in a strong position to secure their first postseason berth in over two decades. Embarking on a long playoff run would certainly be a lot tougher without the AL Rookie of the Year candidate, as Rodríguez is already Seattle’s best player.
During his debut campaign, Rodríguez has connected on 27 home runs and stolen 25 bases. He’s the only player in the majors who has already eclipsed 25 homers and steals apiece, and he owns an overall .280/.342/.502 line through 549 plate appearances. Rodríguez has paired that excellent offensive production with above-average center field defense in cementing himself among the sport’s top young stars.
For whatever time Rodríguez is out, the Mariners are set to turn to one of their other former top outfield prospects. Jarred Kelenic has yet to cement himself as a big league regular, owning a .170/.250/.340 line over 504 MLB plate appearances. The one-time sixth overall pick and consensus top prospect just recently turned 23 years old, though, and he’s raked at a .295/.365/.557 clip in 86 games in Tacoma this year. Servais confirmed that Kelenic would be the everyday center fielder for as long as Rodríguez is out of action (Jude link).