ARLINGTON, Texas — While fans seethe any time Mike Ford lumbers to the plate and fails to produce, which is more often than not and won’t be a problem moving forward, or get angry when Dylan Moore pinch hits for Taylor Trammell in the sixth inning because a left-handed reliever is in the game, or shake their head when Abraham Toro is in the starting lineup, it’s important to note that this will continue until the roster changes.

With Mitch Haniger playing in just nine games due to COVID-19 and a high-ankle sprain, Jarred Kelenic struggling his way into a demotion to Tacoma and Kyle Lewis battling concussion issues, the Mariners lineup will continue to change day to day and inning to inning based on opposing pitching matchups. It’s not new. General manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais have employed such thinking for several years.


The Mariners don’t have the type of hitters, at least right now, to operate along more traditional standards. Haniger’s absence in the middle of the order is glaring. When Lewis came back for a handful of games, it offered a stabilizing look to the bottom half of the order.

“It’s matchup driven,” Servais said. “It’s not just us. There are many teams in the league looking for that matchup advantage. It hasn’t worked out in our favor. But we trust our guys. They’ve got a job to do. We’ll keep giving them opportunities, and we’ll see what happens.”

  • In 42 games, Toro has a .175/.233/.358 slash line with five doubles, a triple, six homers, 14 RBI, 10 walks and 19 strikeouts.
  • In 30 games, Moore has a .157/.317/.353 slash line with two triples, two homers, seven RBI, nine walks and 19 strikeouts.
  • In 16 games, Ford has a .172./.368/.207 slash line with five total hits, three RBI, eight walks and 12 strikeouts.

The Mariners may add veteran Justin Upton when they return from this road trip to provide some help. But there’s a reason why the 34-year-old was without an MLB job before the Mariners signed him a few weeks ago.

There isn’t any immediate help on the horizon.

Lewis won’t be activated from the seven-day concussion list Sunday when he’s eligible to return. The Mariners outfielder, who was struck by a slider from Jose Urquidy that hit him in the shoulder and ricocheted off the back of his head-and-neck area, is still feeling the effects of the concussion.


Following protocols, the Mariners are having him rest until the symptoms subside. He’s not doing any other activity.

“No activity that will get his heart rate up or anything like that,” Servais said. “We want to make sure he feels better before he starts picking that stuff up again.”

Servais wondered how many concussions he suffered as a player with either foul tips off his mask or in collisions at home plate.

“There was no protocol back in the day,” he said. “But it’s something, that for a good reason, in our sport and all sports, people are much more aware of now. It’s serious. And you have to take it seriously.”

Kelenic came into Saturday on a nine-game hitting streak with the Rainiers and had hits in 10 of his past 11 games. Over that 11-game stretch, he has a .354/.392/.729 slash line with four doubles, a triple, four homers and 11 RBI. But the 15 strikeouts in 51 plate appearances are an issue.

The Mariners still want to see his approach and bat-to-ball rate improve.


Haniger hoped to be back by the first or second week in July. Servais has said publicly he hopes Haniger can be ahead of schedule. Still, he won’t be rejoining the Mariners in the next few weeks.

Mariners acquire lefty reliever

Dipoto, who is on the trip with the team, completed a trade after Saturday’s loss. The Mariners acquired lefty reliever Ryan Borucki from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league infielder Tyler Keenan. To make room for Borucki on the 40-man roster, Ford was designated for assignment.

Borucki, 28, was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on May 31. He has struggled this season, posting a 9.95 ERA in 11 appearances, allowing seven earned runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Keenan, 23, was hitting .250 (23 for 92) with four doubles, three home runs, 14 RBI and 12 walks in 25 games with High-A Everett this season.

Giles, Swanson working back

Relievers Ken Giles (middle finger strain) and Erik Swanson (elbow inflammation) each made rehab appearances for High-A Everett on Friday night. Giles started the game for the AquaSox but didn’t finished his scheduled first inning, allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 20 pitches. In three rehab appearances, he’s pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs (only three earned) on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

With Giles being sidelined since spring training, and missing all of 2021 with Tommy John surgery, the Mariners realize it will take him some time to get his feel back.


“It’s really important with Giles that we do not bring him to the big leagues just because we want him to,” Servais said. “He needs to be ready to come here, then if he struggles here, he’s not bouncing back. OK. Now where do you go? Now you go back on the IL. And you kind of go through it all again. Let’s take our time, so that when he comes here he can be an impactful part of our bullpen. We do need help in the bullpen and certainly guys with his experience should be able to help right away, but they’ve got to be right.”

Swanson could return on this road trip. He pitched a scoreless second inning, striking out a pair of batters with 15 pitches thrown.

“That went pretty well,” Servais said. “I’m not quite sure yet if he’s going to have one more outing or he could possibly join us over in Houston.”