Mariners’ Servais: Good news on France, Julio; reaction to Castillo trade

Aug 2, 2022, 3:34 PM | Updated: 4:00 pm
Mariners Julio Rodríguez Ty France...
Ty France and Julio Rodríguez of the Mariners smile in the dugout before the 2022 MLB All-Star Game. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Mariners are in the midst of a difficult seven-game road trip, and it’s been made even more difficult by the team’s two best hitters having been out of the lineup for a few days.

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But there is good news when it comes to those two sluggers, as Mariners manager Scott Servais told Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Bump and Stacy Tuesday afternoon.

France and Julio trending in right direction

The Mariners lost both their All-Stars when Ty France (wrist) and Julio Rodríguez (wrist/hand) went down in Houston on Saturday. Rodríguez was hit by a pitch and later left while France finished the game but hasn’t played since following an awkward swing. Rodríguez is on the 10-day injured list while France is still on the active roster.

Servais is optimistic both will be back sooner than later.

“Ty is actually feeling better. He took a few swings, just off the tee in the cage today,” Servais said. “Will he be available tomorrow? I’m not quite sure yet. But he feels much better. Today, he probably won’t take any batting practice on the field or anything like that, but the wrist is calming down, which is definitely a good sign there.”

As for Rodríguez, he’s doing better than expected at this point.

“Julio’s feeling much better as well. He’s on the 10-day IL. We’ve gotta wait about another seven days to get him back,” Servais said. “But he’s progressing, probably a little bit quicker than maybe we anticipated. So that’s all good. That’s really good there.”

Additionally, utility man Dylan Moore, who also left last Saturday’s game and is on the IL due to back spasms, is making good progress.

“Dylan Moore, who’s not with us (in New York) – he went back to Seattle with the back spasms – he’s feeling better as well,” Servais said. “So some positive news on that front.”

While the Mariners want those three – especially France and Rodríguez – back sooner than later, Servais noted the team needs to be patient.

“We need these guys. We need them back. But we also need them healthy when they come back, so we need to be patient,” he said. “It’s hard to be that way when you’re playing against the better teams in the league, but that’s just a little adversity we’ve got to deal with right now.”

Addition of Castillo

The Mariners will certainly get a boost when France and Rodríguez return, but they’ll also get one Wednesday when new star pitcher Luis Castillo makes his first start for Seattle.

The Mariners acquired Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds in a blockbuster deal last Friday, and Servais has a fun story of how he first learned he was getting another ace for the rotation.

“I heard about the seventh or eighth inning. Manny Acta came up to me after he was coaching third base, and he just said that (Houston Astros third baseman) Alex Bregman had just told him that we acquired Luis Castillo,” Servais said while laughing. ” … I don’t know where Bregman got it from, but that’s how I first heard about it … And sure enough, after the game, I found that it was true. So it was all good.”

Castillo joined the Mariners in New York on Monday, and he and Servais got to meet and talk. What was that like?

“I got a chance to talk with him yesterday when he came into the ballpark here. Really good dude,” Servais said. “Obviously, he’s been around the league … He’s excited to join our club. You know, he’s very comfortable (here) – obviously, (Eugenio Suárez) and and Jesse Winker have a relationship with him having played with him in Cincinnati.”

Servais did get personal with Castillo right away.

“The first thing I did, he’s kind of got like the long dreads going, and I just had to check and make sure they were real and weren’t extensions,” Servais said. “So he laughed at me and he said, ‘No, they’re real Papi. I’m the real deal.'”

Castillo is a two-time All-Star who has “elite stuff,” Servais said.

“You’re gonna see a fastball that’ll go from 96 to 99 mph. It’s a sinking fastball, it’s got a ton of movement on it. He’s got an elite changeup. I think at one point his changeup was graded out on major league scales as a 70 or 80 (grade) changeup, and 80 is the top of the scale. And he’s not afraid to throw it to anybody in any count,” Servais said. “He’s got a slider as well.”

What about his command?

“The command, he’s not going to be pinpoint command, he’s going to stuff you,” Servais said. “He’s gonna go after you and it’s really not gonna matter who’s in the box, he’s going to challenge hitters. He’s had a lot of success in the league. He’s got a lot of confidence, he’s not afraid and he’s a perfect fit on our ballclub right now.”

Listen to the full interview with Servais at this link or in the player below.

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