Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto says Kyle Lewis return is near, talks possible Julio Rodríguez debut in ’21

Apr 15, 2021, 11:08 AM

Mariners Kyle Lewis...

Kyle Lewis has spent the Mariners' season thus far on the injured list. (AP)


Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto jumped on a bit early Thursday for his weekly interview on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant due to the Mariners’ doubleheader in Baltimore, and while it was a shorter version of The Jerry Dipoto Show than usual, he still had some interesting things to talk about.

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Let’s take a close look at what he had to say about Kyle Lewis’ recovery from a bone bruise on his surgically-repaired right knee and the possibility of outfield prospect Julio Rodríguez making his big league debut before the end of the season.

‘Very optimistic’ Kyle Lewis returns early next week

Lewis, the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year, has spent the first few weeks of the season on the 10-day injured list due to a bruise on his knee he suffered from jumping into a wall going after a fly ball late in spring training. Dipoto told Danny O’Neil and guest host Stacy Rost on Thursday that the M’s are hopeful Lewis will get to make his 2021 debut at T-Mobile Park early next week in a two-game series against the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

“We’re not expecting him back for the weekend versus the Astros, but right now we’re very optimistic that we’re going to get him back for that Dodgers series, or at least a portion of it, and be ready to go,” Dipoto said. “So we should see K-Lew early next week and, fingers crossed, for the remainder of the year, because it has been a void in the middle of our lineup not having his bat. We’ve been able to weather the storm just fine to this point but it sure is going to be nice to have him back in there.”

After the Mariners wrap up their road trip with Thursday’s twinbill in Baltimore, they will return to Seattle to start a three-game set Friday against Houston followed by two against the Dodgers on Monday and Tuesday.

Dipoto said Lewis has been taking part in workouts at Seattle’s alternate site, which is being held at T-Mobile Park.

“Kyle’s doing great. He’s now taking at-bats at our alt site. He’s running well. I think he feels good, which is the most important thing,” Dipoto said.

Can Rodríguez join the Mariners by the end of this season?

Dipoto made some waves during an appearance on SiriusXM’s The GM Show last Sunday when he didn’t rule out Rodríguez making his MLB debut before his 21st birthday, which isn’t until December. Dipoto provided a bit of clarity on that statement Thursday.

“Any of our top prospects could be (up with the Mariners in 2021),” he said. “… It’s such a talented group of players with Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez and Logan Gilbert, Cal Raleigh. We could take it a step further with our talented young pitchers. These are the types of players that can jump two and three levels in a season.”

So while Dipoto didn’t say you should count on Rodríguez being a September call-up this year, he remains open to the idea.

“Julio is going to start this season at the A-level, and we feel like that’s what’s best for his current development, but there’s no question that his level of talent can put him in position to make a couple of jumps (this year). Is it likely? Probably not. But is it possible? There’s no question that his talent is at that level.”

The Jerry Dipoto Show airs at 8:30 a.m. each Thursday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant (barring doubleheaders with 9:35 a.m. start times). You can hear this week’s episode in full at this link or in the player below.

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Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto says Kyle Lewis return is near, talks possible Julio Rodríguez debut in ’21