OAKLAND, Calif. — Guillermo Heredia’s 2017 season is over. The Mariners have decided to not use Heredia in the final five remaining games due to right shoulder soreness.
“We thought it was best to shut him down,” manager Scott Servais said.
Obviously, if the Mariners were still vying for a playoff spot, Heredia would’ve played through the discomfort. But with Seattle being eliminated, there was no reason to risk further damage.
“It actually happened last season on a pickoff throw to first base when I was diving back in,” Heredia said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. “It felt like I dislocated the shoulder. It wasn’t really an issue until recently and they decided to shut me down.”
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Heredia re-aggravated the injury a few weeks ago in Houston on a diving play on a ball in the outfield (above). He will have the shoulder re-examined, but wasn’t certain if surgery would be needed. The injury ends a better than expected season for him.
This is just his second season since being signed as a free agent after defecting from Cuba. Prior to that, he missed two seasons while waiting to become eligible to sign with a team. After seeing time as a back-up outfielder late last season, he saw extensive playing time in 2017. He beat out Ben Gamel in spring training for the fourth outfield spot and saw his role increased after his superior defense and better than expected production at the plate. Servais also loved the energy that Heredia brought to the field when he played.
“It was really good to get out there and play on a regular basis,” he said. “I’m thankful to the organization that allowed me to get this much playing time. It allowed me to advance my career tremendously.”
Heredia played in 123 games, hitting .249 with a .652 on-base plus slugging percentage, 16 doubles, six homers and 24 RBI. He had his best success in more of a platoon role, splitting time with Jarrod Dyson. But when Dyson injured his groin, Heredia was forced to play every day. Many scouts believed he became over-exposed to pitchers.
On Aug. 16, he was hitting .287 with a .744 OPS. Over the next 34 games he hit .140 with a .393 OPS, three doubles, two RBI and 22 strikeouts. The shoulder was an also issues the last few weeks.
“I think overall it was a pretty acceptable season,” he said.
Heredia worked extensively last offseason to shorten his swing and eliminate some excess moving parts that slowed his bat down. The success of those changes got him onto the opening day roster and kept him there.
“It took a lot of work and I focused on it all year and it’s worked out so far,” he said. “The thing that is going to help the most is going to next season you have a year under your belt, a year of experience, a year of going through everything. I think the experience will help even more than that.”
Heredia will return to Miami in the offseason to train.
“I’m just going to work hard,” he said, “and focus on my deficiencies.”