Mariners Notebook: Eugenio Suárez returns to DH; Julio’s awards start

Sep 27, 2022, 2:37 PM | Updated: 3:37 pm

Mariners Eugenio Suárez Julio Rodríguez...

Eugenio Suárez celebrates a home run with Julio Rodríguez in a June 14, 2022 Mariners game. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Mariners need help getting back on track after an unsettling road trip. Eugenio Suárez will aim to provide some on Tuesday night.

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Manager Scott Servais confirmed during his regular Tuesday appearance on Seattle Sports’ The Dugout that the Mariners’ leader in home runs and RBIs will be in the lineup to open a 10-game, regular season-ending homestand.

Seattle made the move official Tuesday afternoon, optioning outfielder Taylor Trammell to Triple-A Tacoma to make room on the active roster.

Suárez has been out of action since suffering a fracture in the tip of his right index finger diving for a ball while playing third base on Sept. 16 against the Angels in Anaheim. He’s been able to swing a bat with the injury, though throwing has proven to be an issue. As such, he will serve as designated hitter for the Mariners for the time being.

“He was in here yesterday (at T-Mobile Park) and I had a chance to see him and he’s hitting full-go, he’s ready to let it rip,” Servais said. “He’ll be our DH tonight and he also will go through our pregame defensive work starting today. He has been throwing a little bit. I think he threw about 90 to 100 feet yesterday, that felt OK, so we’ll continue to progress his defensive work and see how that finger is doing. But it’s really nice to have him back in the lineup.”

The Mariners have clearly missed both the bat and glove of Suárez, who has remained one of the better power hitters in the game this season and provided much better than expected defense at the hot corner. In 142 games, he owns a .235/.335/.470 slash line for an .805 OPS with 30 homers, 84 RBIs and 71 walks. He also has 3 defensive runs saved and a 3.1 defensive WAR, per Fangraphs.

Justin Hollander, Mariners executive vice president and assistant general manager of baseball operations, joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Tuesday and discussed the importance of Suárez, a one-time All-Star who came to the M’s in an early spring training trade.

“Since the day he arrived, he’s just been incredible in every way,” Hollander said. “Incredible downstairs as an energizer and a leader in our clubhouse, incredible on the field. His defense has been great for us this year. Really, really excited about everything he’s brought to the table this year.”

Servais echoed those sentiments in his conversation a bit later in the show.

“Geno has been just phenomenal all year long. You know, the ‘good vibes only’ – it’s real. It really is ‘good vibes only’ every day with Geno,” Seattle’s skipper said. “He’s about as consistent a personality that I’ve ever been around in this game, whether it’s a coach, a player, a trainer, a front office executive. Geno is about as consistent coming to the ballpark every day than anybody I’ve been around in where his mindset is at.

“He likes to be out there, he wants to be in the mix and contribute any way he can. Even the days he wasn’t in there, he’s on the bench, he’s yelling at teammates, he’s getting on the guys on the other team. I mean, he’s all-in and just like I said, we’ve missed him in the lineup and hopefully can give us a jolt tonight.”

The awards start for Julio Rodríguez

The M’s won’t see Julio Rodríguez back from the 10-day injured list until most likely next Monday for their four-game, regular season finale series against the Detroit Tigers, but he’s still making waves in a positive way.

Baseball America has named Rodríguez its 2022 Major League Rookie of the Year, making him the first Mariners player to ever earn the honor from the publication. While this isn’t the more widely recognized American League Rookie of the Year award handed out after each season by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, it’s still a prestigious award in that it goes to who the magazine considers the best rookie in all of the game, not just the AL or NL.

The Baseball America award dates back to 1989, and with Rodríguez being the first M’s winner, that means the first version of it did not go to Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. – like the AL Rookie of the Year that season, it went to Baltimore closer Gregg Olsen (tough in hindsight, but Olsen did have a 1.79 ERA and 29 saves). Nor did the 2001 award end up on the mantle of Ichiro Suzuki – even though he was AL Rookie of the Year and MVP, Baseball America honored Albert Pujols instead (OK, fair).

The 21-year-old Rodríguez has developed into a superstar in his first MLB season, slashing .280/.342/.502 for an .844 OPS with 27 homers, 73 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He became the fastest player in MLB history to join the 25/25 club, doing so in just 126 games. He is currently out of action with a lower back strain but the M’s remain optimistic he’ll be back in the lineup before the end of this homestand.

Along with the honor, Rodríguez will be featured on the next cover of the print edition of Baseball America.

On deck for the Mariners

Seattle begins its all-important 10-game homestand to close out the regular season with a 6:40 p.m. game Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers in the first of a three-game series. Coverage as always will be on Seattle Sports 710 AM beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the hour-long pregame show. Listeners in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and Alaska can stream the radio broadcast on or the Seattle Sports app. For more details, click here.

Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray is scheduled to pitch Tuesday for the Mariners against the Rangers’ Jesus Tinoco.

Here is Seattle’s lineup:

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Mariners Notebook: Eugenio Suárez returns to DH; Julio’s awards start