OAKLAND, Calif. — For the first time since he walked around the field-level hallway of T-Mobile Park, making the trek from the visitors’ clubhouse and appearing in the Mariners clubhouse carrying his belongings and his gear in Astros bags, Abraham Toro was out of the starting lineup for the Mariners, Tuesday night vs. the A’s.
It ended a streak of 47 consecutive games in the Mariners’ starting lineup.
“Nothing more than just the day off for him,” manager Scott Servais told ROOT Sports pregame. “Toro has played or started in every game since we’ve acquired him. And he has been phenomenal. He’s done so many positive things offensively, but he looks like he’s getting a little bit tired. Just giving him maybe a mental break, give him a day. It doesn’t mean he won’t be in there by the end of the game, but he won’t be starting the game tonight. He’ll be back in there tomorrow.”
Toro was acquired along with right-hander Joe Smith from Houston in exchange for right-handed relievers Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero on July 27 in the odd circumstance of the two teams playing against each other. It wasn’t a popular trade in the Mariners clubhouse at the time, but Toro has done plenty to turn his teammates into believers since that day.
On that Tuesday afternoon, Toro participated in the pregame workouts with the team, introducing himself to his teammates on the field and trying to make everything seem normal. He wasn’t in the starting lineup that night, but entered as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth. He made an immediate impression, hitting a two-run homer against his former team.
The next day, he was starting at second base and remained a fixture in the Mariners lineup since then, giving Seattle better-than-expected production at the plate while looking serviceable at second base.
Even on his day off, Toro still put in his daily work with infield coach Perry Hill and participated in the daily infield. The process to get him less stiff and using his athleticism at second base has been showing gradual results.
“We’ve asked this guy to switch positions,” Servais said. “He has put in a ton of work every day with Perry Hill and trying to get comfortable at second base and I think he’s made a lot of strides there defensively. Offensively, he really hit the ground running.”
But the break comes as Toro’s plate production has slowed from this torrid start. He has just one hit in his last 38 plate appearances and his currently hitless in his last 24 plate appearances.
Even in his first real slump with the team, he’s struck out just six times and has continued to display solid bat-to-ball skills.
Since joining the Mariners, he has a .263/.340/.721 slash line in 209 plate appearances with 10 doubles, four homers, 24 RBI, 23 runs scored, 18 walks and 26 strikeouts.
“He was electric with the bat from the minute we put him in the lineup,” Servais said. “He’s a big part of what we got going on here and certainly a part of our future.”
Right-hander Andres Munoz (Tommy John surgery) made his second appearance of his rehab stint, pitching a 1-2-3 inning for Class AAA Tacoma, striking out one batter. He threw 14 pitches (nine strikes) and hit 100 mph multiple times.
Munoz will make two more rehab appearances before heading into his offseason and preparing for 2022 spring training.