Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto: Jarred Kelenic returning to MLB Friday vs Angels

Jul 15, 2021, 9:18 AM | Updated: 11:24 am

Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic...

Top Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic will be back in the majors on Friday. (Getty)


The Mariners are just a day away from kicking off the second half of the 2021 season at five games over .500, and they’ll be getting a big boost with the return of prized outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic.

Salk’s Mariners Observations: What they need to do, what’s working

Kelenic, 21, made his MLB debut in early May, but struggled outside of a fun three-hit performance in his second MLB game. In 23 games with the Mariners, Kelenic had a .096/.185/.193 slash line and didn’t record a hit in his final 10 games prior to his demotion.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant on Thursday morning that Kelenic will be recalled from Triple-A Tacoma for Friday’s second-half road opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

After his MLB struggles, Kelenic went down to Tacoma and has put up very nice results, and Dipoto and the organization are very confident in Kelenic’s ability going forward.

“We’ve always believed in his talent. Obviously (his first run in MLB) didn’t go the way we hoped or he would have hoped,” Dipoto said on The Jerry Dipoto Show. “We sent him back, he had a plan to work on. Some of it was how to approach the game and some of it was more skills development-based, and he did everything we asked him to do.”

In 30 games for Tacoma this year (he played six in Triple-A prior to his initial MLB call-up), Kelenic boasts a .320/.392/.624 slash line with nine home runs, 28 RBIs and six stolen bases.

“The performance was excellent,” Dipoto said. “He achieved what we were hoping he would achieve in the short time, and we told him we would reassess at the All-Star break and see where we were. We think it’s the right time to give it another shot. He’s just too talented to allow him to not gain this exposure and these at-bats at the big league level. It’s so important to what we’re doing going forward, and it’s so important for him to take that next step in his career.”

So where exactly does Kelenic fit in with this Mariners team, which is just 3.5 games out from the second American League Wild Card spot?

“He will (be in the lineup on Friday) and he will play center field more nights than not,” Dipoto said. “He will, like he’s done in the minors, move from side to side (in the outfield).”

Dipoto noted that Kelenic and Jake Fraley are able to handle all three outfield spots, which will be important going forward in order to give right fielder Mitch Haniger some time at designated hitter, and also to keep giving Shed Long Jr. and Dylan Moore playing time. Kelenic in center, Fraley in left and Haniger in right appears to be the Mariners’ go-to starting outfield trio for the foreseeable future.

“We want Jarred to get his reps like we want Jake and Mitch to get their reps, and we’ve got to keep finding ways to get Shed and Dylan Moore their (at-bats),” he said. “We’re going to be very creative in how we manage the roster coming out of the break.”

Part of that creativity involves the catchers, as top catching prospect Cal Raleigh was promoted from Tacoma to make his MLB debut Sunday in the final game of the first half and the Mariners still have Luis Torrens and Tom Murphy on the roster.

Getting Raleigh and Kelenic consistent at-bats is very critical for the Mariners, Dipoto said.

“As fun as it is to be in a position right now to dream of the second half and hitting the postseason, we also want to focus on the discipline of giving these young players their reps, because that’s just so important to what happens moving forward for us,” he said.

Listen to this week’s Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the player below.

Follow Brandon Gustafson on Twitter.

3 Takes: Mariners’ biggest question for the second half of the season

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Mostly Sunny
High 74° | Low 56°
Roof is open
Angels at Mariners today at 12:40pm

Danny and Gallant

Seahawks Alex Collins...

Brent Stecker

Huard: What do Seahawks do at No. 2 RB with Alex Collins, Rashaad Penny?

Alex Collins was impressive this preseason, but was it enough to earn the job as the Seahawks' backup to Chris Carson over Rashaad Penny?

3 years ago

Seahawks Darrell Taylor...

Paul Gallant

Gallant: 4 takeaways after Seahawks wrap up preseason with win

Paul Gallant takes stock of the Seahawks after they wrapped up the preseason with a 27-0 win over the Chargers on Saturday night.

3 years ago

Seahawks TE Gerald Everett...

Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus: Why TE Gerald Everett will be Seahawks’ most impactful offseason addition

When it comes to every new player the Seahawks added this offseason, Michael Bumpus is counting on TE Gerald Everett to stand out the most.

3 years ago

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...

Paul Gallant

Gallant: Will Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, a pioneer of mobile QBs, adapt into his 30s?

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has been a mobile QB for his whole career, but Paul Gallant hopes he'll consider a few things as he loses a step.

3 years ago

Mariners OF Kyle Lewis...

Brandon Gustafson

Jerry Dipoto Show: His future with the Mariners, Flexen’s consistency, Lewis’ return

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto joined Danny & Gallant to talk about the playoff race, his future in Seattle, and the close return of a key player.

3 years ago

Seahawks John Reid...

Brandon Gustafson

Bumpus: What the addition of John Reid means for Seahawks’ CB room

The Seahawks traded for second-year CB John Reid this week. Michael Bumpus breaks down what that means for Seattle's CB competition.

3 years ago

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto: Jarred Kelenic returning to MLB Friday vs Angels