Julio Rodríguez returns to Mariners’ lineup after IL stint

Oct 3, 2022, 3:18 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2022, 12:29 am
Mariners Julio Rodriguez...
Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners celebrates with fans after clinching a postseason birth after beating the Oakland Athletics 2-1 at T-Mobile Park on September 30, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After 10 days on the sidelines, star rookie center fielder Julio Rodríguez is back with the Mariners on Monday, hitting leadoff at the designated hitter spot in the series opener with the Detroit Tigers, the final series of the year for each team.

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Rodríguez was activated from the IL and catcher Curt Casali was activated from the paternity list. Infielder Abraham Toro and catcher Brian O’Keefe were optioned to Tacoma in corresponding moves.

Rodriguez was sidelined with a lower back injury in the Mariners’ final road trip of the year. He missed three games with the Angels before returning to action in Oakland, but left the series finale in the first inning.

Overall this year, the 21-year-old rookie has been Seattle’s best player, slashing .280/.342/.502 with 27 home runs, 73 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 129 games and leads the team in WAR at 5.7. Rodríguez was the lone rookie named to the 2022 All-Star Game and finished second in the Home Run Derby.

Rodríguez returns for the Mariners’ final four regular season games before starting the playoffs this Friday. As it currently stands, Seattle is second in the AL Wild Card race behind Toronto, meaning the Mariners will likely be heading north of the border to face the Blue Jays this weekend in a best-of-three series. If the Mariners get the top seed, they’d host this weekend. If they’re overtaken by the Tampa Bay Rays and get the sixth seed, Seattle heads to Cleveland to face the AL Central-champion Guardians.

Monday is also the last-scheduled start for rookie George Kirby, at least in the regular season.

Were it not for his superstar teammate, Kirby likely would be getting a lot of love in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation as he’s gone 8-4 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.175 WHIP and 128 strikeouts to 19 walks in 126 innings across 24 starts. Kirby has also yet to allow a home run since June 27, a streak of 14 consecutive starts.

Mariners Lineup

Julio Rodríguez, DH
Ty France, 1B
Mitch Haniger, RF
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
Cal Raleigh, C
Jarred Kelenic, CF
Dylan Moore, SS
Sam Haggerty, LF
Adam Frazier, 2B

George Kirby, SP

Note: Jesse Winker was scratched from the original lineup and replaced by Haggerty in left field and hitting eighth in the order.

Tigers Lineup

Akil Baddoo, LF
Riley Greene, CF
Javier Báez, SS
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Harold Castro, 1B
Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Kody Clemens, 3B
Tucker Barnhart, C
Victor Reyes, RF

Bryan Garcia, SP

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