The Mariners announced that they had placed Julius Rodriguez on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back sprain. Seattle Reminder Taylor Trammel of Triple-A Tacoma to take the vacant spot on the active roster.
Rodríguez struggled with the pain for a few days, and the problem was serious enough that the club sent him for an MRI this afternoon. Manager Scott Servais told reporters tonight that team doctors are still evaluating the results of imaging results before determining if an IL stay will be necessary (via Adam Jude of the Seattle Times). Further details on Rodríguez’s condition are unclear, but the problem is obviously serious enough to cost him at least a week and a half.
There are 12 days left in the regular season, so it’s possible Rodríguez could return at the start of the playoffs. Needless to say, the M’s would surely be better off if he could get back in time for the first round of the playoffs. With a four-game cushion on the Orioles for the last American League Wild Card berth, the Mariners are in a strong position to secure their first playoff spot in more than two decades. Going into a long playoff streak would certainly be much harder without the AL Rookie of the Year contender, as Rodríguez is already Seattle’s best player.
During his first campaign, Rodríguez hit 27 homers and stole 25 bases. He’s the only player in the majors who has ever eclipsed 25 home runs and stolen each, and he owns an overall line of .280/.342/.502 through 549 plate appearances. Rodríguez paired this excellent attacking production with an above-average central midfield defense to cement himself among the sport’s top young stars.
However long Rodríguez is out, the Mariners should turn to one of their other former top outfield prospects. Jarred Kelenic has yet to establish himself as a big league regular, owning a .170/.250/.340 line in 504 MLB plate appearances. The former sixth overall pick and consensus top prospect just turned 23, though, and he has a .295/.365/.557 clip in 86 games at Tacoma this year. Servais confirmed that Kelenic will be the everyday centre-back as long as Rodríguez is out of action (jude link).