SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners notebook: Kelenic turning heads but M’s still stressing patience

Jul 14, 2020, 4:48 PM | Updated: 6:52 pm
Mariners Jarred Kelenic...
Top Mariners Jarred Kelenic is on the verge of turning 21. (Getty)
(Getty)

After Jarred Kelenic’s two-home run performance Monday afternoon, a popular topic Tuesday was how long the Mariners could keep keep him down on the farm.

Drayer: Playful Jarred Kelenic says two-homer day could have been three

While just about everything the soon-to-be 21 year old does is eye-catching, organizationally the temptation to rush him to the big leagues is not there.

“I think we need to be smart here,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Jarred has tremendous talent, there’s no question he is going to be fun to watch in a Mariners uniform for a long time, but oftentimes you see players who do get rushed through a little bit and you can really take a step backwards, and we don’t want to see that with Jarred. We want to make sure the time is right for him and for us and then go forward and never have to look back again.”

The Mariners are confident the talent will translate. They love the swing, they love the development he has shown in a short time in the organization and they love the fact that he showed up in Seattle after the shutdown even stronger than he was in spring training. What he needs now is experience, and some experience is better gained away from the big stadiums and bright lights.

“I think every situation is unique,” Servais said. “A lot of it has to do with where that player is emotionally. Has he struggled before? Has he been able to get out of a slump in the minor leagues? You want to see young players struggle and how they get out of it because it is going to happen in the big leagues.”

Had this been a normal season, Kelenic would have had the opportunity to start in the minors and go through those struggles. It remains to be seen what can be gained in that regard playing intrasquad games in Tacoma as a member of the taxi squad but there is little doubt that Kelenic will continue to try and force the issue.

Mariners notes

• The Mariners placed right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano on the injured list Tuesday afternoon. A specific injury or illness was not given in the Mariners’ news release. Hirano is the only M’s player yet to be cleared for Summer Camp. The 36-year-old reliever appeared in 137 combined games over the previous two seasons with Arizona, posting a 2.44 ERA in 2018 and 4.75 ERA last year. He signed with the Mariners in free agency over the offseason.

• Catcher Tom Murphy left Tuesday’s intrasquad game early after taking a foul tip off the lower leg/foot area. He was able to finish the inning but was replaced in the next inning. We most likely will have to wait until Wednesday morning for an update.

• Yusei Kikuchi pitched three innings and showed 93-94 mph with the fastball but had command issues, walking three batters in the second inning. His final line: 3IP, 3R, 4H, 4BB, K.

• Mallex Smith, Dylan Moore and Joe Hudson worked out for a second straight day after clearing testing. They should get into games this weekend and the hope is they can be ready for opening day. The Mariners will leave next Thursday for Houston, a day ahead of the opener.

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