Mariners near full strength with Crawford, Santana back

Jul 16, 2022, 10:58 AM | Updated: 5:08 pm

Mariners Crawford Santana Suárez...

J.P. Crawford, Eugenio Suárez and Carlos Santana celebrate a Mariners win in San Diego on July 5. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners aren’t just the hottest team in baseball. Now they’re as close to full strength as they’ve been in months.

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J.P. Crawford returns to the Mariners lineup for Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. game against the Texas Rangers, and he’s joined by Carlos Santana, who returns after a one-day absence due to a family emergency.

Kevin Padlo, who was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday as Santana was placed on the restricted list, has been optioned back to the Rainiers to clear room for Santana’s return.

Even though the 49-42 Mariners are on an incredible run, having won 12 straight and 20 of their last 23 games, this is actually the first time since acquiring Santana in a late June trade with the Royals that they will have him, Ty France, and every player who served a suspension stemming from a brawl with the Angels all in the lineup together. Seattle nearly had that in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday in Washington, D.C., against the Nationals, but France received the night off as he seemed to struggle getting his timing back at the plate following a stint on the 10-day injured list with a left elbow strain.

The Mariners still have two key players expected to rejoin the roster hopefully before the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline: outfielders Kyle Lewis, who is currently on a rehab assignment with Tacoma, and Mitch Haniger, who is ramping up baseball activity coming off a high-ankle sprain.

Crawford sat both Thursday and Friday for the Mariners’ first two games in Texas against the Rangers to rest a bruise on the index finger of his right (throwing) hand that he suffered during Wednesday’s doubleheader. He was having trouble throwing due to the bruise.

Santana will be the designated hitter with France at first base, while Crawford is back in his usual post at shortstop for Saturday’s game. In the batting order, left fielder Jesse Winker will remain in the No. 3 spot after a nice showing in his first four games back from suspension, Santana will hit cleanup, and Crawford will slot in at sixth. Julio Rodríguez, Seattle’s All-Star and 21-year-old phenom, will hit leadoff the day after his first career grand slam iced the Mariners’ 8-3 win over the Rangers.

Before the game, Rodríguez got in some practice ahead of Monday’s Home Run Derby by hitting off Franmy Peña, the same person who will throw to him in the derby. There was a preview of sorts Friday night as both Rodríguez and Texas slugger Corey Seager, who are matched up against each other in the first round of the derby bracket, both hit homers.

Logan Gilbert (10-3, 2.80 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) gets the start for Seattle on the mound opposite Texas’ Spencer Howard (1-1, 8.04 ERA, 1.66 WHIP), who is making his fourth start and sixth overall appearance this season for the Rangers.

Here’s is Seattle’s full lineup for Saturday:

Coverage for Saturday’s game will be carried on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM, and the Seattle Sports app beginning with the pregame show at noon. For details on how to stream Mariners games from Seattle Sports on your phone or other devices, click here.

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