With the All-Star break behind them, the Seattle Mariners enter the final stretch of the season with a wild-card berth still well within their reach.
However, the team will embark on its final stretch of 71 games without the possibility of returning Gold Glove first baseman Evan White, who will miss the rest of the season following hip surgery.
“Evan White has decided to go ahead and have surgery,” manager Scott Servais said before Friday’s game. “He will have that in the upcoming days.”
White, the reigning AL first base Gold Glove winner and former first-round draft pick, played in 30 games this season, before winding up on the 10-day injured list with a strained hip flexor May 14. The 25-year-old batted .144 in 104 plate appearances, with 14 hits, nine RBI and six walks. He scored eight runs and struck out 31 times. He was eventually shifted to the 60-day injured list June 22.
“I think he was trying to work through where he was at and, you know, could he get back and try to get back on the field for us this year,” Servais said. “I think he decided it was best for him to go ahead and have surgery. I believe it’s a hip labrum surgery, and that will be in the next few days so Evan will be out for the remainder of the season.”
During the 60-game 2020 season, White appeared in 54 games, hitting .176 with eight home runs and 26 RBI. Ty France and Jake Bauers have taken on most of the duties at first while White has been out.
Jarred Kelenic returns for second stint
Jarred Kelenic’s first time around in the majors didn’t go exactly as planned.
Appearing in 23 games, the Mariners’ No. 1 prospect hit .096 and ended his first spell in Seattle on an 0-for-39 stretch. However, after some productive time down the Interstate 5 corridor in Tacoma, the Mariners think Kelenic is ready to give MLB another shot.
“Jarred was at a point where things weren’t going very well for him,” Servais said. “Obviously, he was struggling at the plate. He’s a very young player, today’s his 22nd birthday, so young, and anytime young players struggle like that, sometimes you do need to just unplug them and let them start over.”
In 24 games since returning to Class AAA, Kelenic was hitting .306 — 30 for 98 — with seven home runs and 23 RBI. He has also scored 23 runs, drawn 13 walks and struck out just 17 times, nine less than he managed during his first stint with Seattle. Most important for the Mariners though, Servais thinks Kelenic’s time in Tacoma has helped boost his confidence and helped him refocus on the smaller parts of his game instead of worrying about his batting average.
“He’s playing very well down there, kind of being Jarred Kelenic and that’s what I want him to be here — just be him,” Servais said. “Relax, go out and play, have fun, and kind of look at it in smaller (increments).”
- RHP Justin Dunn is continuing his throwing program. Servais estimates he’s about 10 days away from progressing to mound work.
- LHP Justus Sheffield began throwing again on Friday, but the Mariners will be cautious with his rehab.
- RHP Casey Sadler is continuing his rehab in Class AAA with the Tacoma Rainiers.
- Outfielder Kyle Lewis is still rehabbing at home but has not resumed baseball activities. Servais said he has thrown a ball but has not swung a bat yet. The 2020 Rookie of the Year is progressing as expected.
- Utility player Sam Haggerty is still rehabbing at the Mariners training complex in Peoria, Arizona. Servais said Haggerty is not close to resuming baseball activities.
- Third baseman Kyle Seager missed the past few days with after fouling a ball off his right shin, leaving a bruise Servais said, “still looked really bad.” He is active and is in the lineup for Friday night’s game against the Angels.