Mariners Injury Updates: Bullpen help coming this homestand
The Mariners return home after a very successful 6-3 road trip and they may be getting some reinforcements for the 11-game homestand.
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During his weekly visit with The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM, Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto provided some big injury updates.
Star outfielder Mitch Haniger has appeared in just nine games this season due to a bout with COVID as well as an ankle injury. The latter of which has kept him sidelined since April 29.
Haniger resumed hitting in a cage this week this week, but Dipoto said with Haniger and catcher Tom Murphy (shoulder), it’s still wait-and-see mode for the franchise.
“We don’t have an option but to wait you know with Mitch and with Murphy,” Dipoto said. “Waiting for for players to recover from injury, that just takes how long it takes and I don’t really have an update but to say that we feel like we’re getting closer to introducing baseball activity for Mitch. Once we get into that zone, then it can potentially move faster. But I can’t really put a timeline on it because I can’t rush a player back from injury. We need these players to come back fully ready to go and contribute, otherwise what did we rush them back for?”
Erik Swanson and Ken Giles
The Mariners’ bullpen has been better of late, but that unit has been less productive this season than a year ago. But two relievers who can be key contributors the rest of the way are close to returning to action.
Those pitchers? Right-handers Ken Giles and Erik Swanson.
Giles has yet to pitch this season due to a finger injury. He missed all of 2021 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Swanson, meanwhile, was stellar for the Mariners this year before suffering an elbow injury. Swanson posted a 1.29 ERA across 14 innings before landing on the injured list.
Both Giles and Swanson are in the midst of rehab assignments and will likely suit up for the Mariners very soon.
“Ken’s had a rough time on his rehab from a performance aspect, but his stuff has improved each time out,” Dipoto said. ” … (Swanson) has been pretty solid on his rehab. We just need to see him show that resiliency and bounce back. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see both of those guys return during this homestand. Whether that’s at the front end of it on Friday or a little later on is yet to be seen, but they’re both very close to a return.”
Jarred Kelenic is in Triple-A, but he left the Rainiers’ Wednesday contest with a hamstring injury.
So is it considered to be a serious injury?
“The postgame report was that it wasn’t expected to be a big issue,” Dipoto said. “They thought he’s be good to go again today. He felt something grab and (they) exercised a little caution and just got him out of there.”
After some early struggles upon his demotion, Kelenic has heated up and is now slashing .313/.360/.627 in 19 games.
So what is Dipoto seeing from the former top prospect?
“He’s hitting the ball hard and he’s hitting the ball frequently … you can’t really ask for anything more,” Dipoto said. “As important as anything is he is enjoying the game. He seems to be having fun. I know he’s playing hard.”
Having fun was something Dipoto said recently that Kelenic needed to do during his demotion. While that appears to be the case and he’s hitting well, there are still some in-game areas Kelenic must improve on.
“The one thing we do need to see is we need to see more contact. Since he’s gone back to AAA, we’re still seeing a pretty high strikeout rate and a low walk rate, which is not Jarred,” Dipoto said. “He has better than that in his I guess bag of tricks, and that’s the growth that we need to see so that the next time he crosses through that door to the big leagues is the last time and he’s just ready to go out and be the player that I think his skills and his aptitudes are going to allow him to be. But we do have to tighten up that strike zone a little bit because in the big leagues, they can expose that a little more than than they currently can.”
Listen to the full interview at this link or in the player below.
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