Mariners notes: Jorge Polanco, Mitch Garver out of lineup

May 14, 2024, 6:13 PM | Updated: 9:49 pm

Seattle Mariners second baseman Jorge Polanco...

Jorge Polanco of the Seattle Mariners tags out a Kansas City baserunner during a 2024 game. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

UPDATE, 9:49 p.m.: Mariners manager Scott Servais said after the game that Mitch Garver was scratched from the lineup due to back spasms.

SEATTLE – Seattle Mariners second baseman Jorge Polanco and designated hitter Mitch Garver are out of the lineup Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals.

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Polanco’s absence came after he exited Monday’s game early due to hamstring tightness is his right leg. Garver was originally slated to start Tuesday night but was a late scratch about an hour before first pitch.

Manager Scott Servais said pregame that he doesn’t believe Polanco’s injury is serious. Josh Rojas was getting the start at second in place of Polanco, batting leadoff. With Rojas starting at second, Luis Urías drew the start at third base against Royals right-hander Michael Wacha and was batting eighth. Garver’s absence moved Mitch Haniger from right field to DH, Luke Raley from left field to right field, and put Sam Haggerty in the nine hole playing left field.

Polanco came out of Monday’s game after he made a nice catch and tag on a throw to second on the hop from catcher Cal Raleigh to catch Dairon Blanco stealing.

“He felt like a cramp or something in his hamstring,” Servais said. “He came right to me right away and said, ‘hey, I don’t want to push this thing.’  I said, ‘No, absolutely not. We’ll give you tomorrow off.’”

Information on Garver’s situation was not immediately available.

Servais said he was unsure whether or not Polanco would be available to come off the bench and said the team would make the decision closer to game time.

The 30-year-old Polanco has dealt with injury issues throughout his career. He played just 80 games with the Minnesota Twins last season while dealing with various lower-body injuries, including a hamstring injury, and 104 the season before after a knee injury ended his campaign in late August. He also played just 77 games during the 2018 season.

Polanco is off to a slow start in Seattle after being acquired in a deal that sent four players to the Twins in the offseason. He entered Tuesday batting just .192 – 74 points below his career average – and striking out at a career-worst 31.5% clip, which is nearly 13% above his career average.

Garver has also had his share of struggles with injuries. He’s played 100 games or more just once in his career and his games with the Texas Rangers last season were his most since 2019. Garver is batting just .174 with a .634 OPS, but he’s come alive of late hitting .240/.355/.480 with two home runs since May 6.

Servais ‘excited’ with where offense is trending

The Mariners continued their May hitting surge Monday night by tagging one of the top pitchers early on in the American League for four runs over five innings. Kansas City starter Brady Singer had allowed more than two runs only once before Monday and saw his ERA rise from 2.36 to 2.84. The Mariners finished with six runs, which marked the sixth time over the past 10 games where the M’s scored five or more runs. Seattle is 6-0 in those games.

“Our offense (was) really consistent up and down the lineup. A lot of good things,” Servais said of Monday’s win. “I often talk about our internal metrics and how we look at a game and how we controlled counts and the productivity we had, how we controlled the things on the mound. It’s probably the best overall game we’ve played in a couple of years last night, just by our internal metrics. … I’m excited. I feel like we’re starting to gain some traction offensively.”

Servais specifically pointed to the quality of at-bats his team provided up and down the lineup.

“I think that just the quality of at-bat, guys making adjustments, having a really good game plan coming into the game and then executing it right out of the shoot,” he said. “I felt like we were on Singer last night right from the get go, and he’s a really good pitcher and he’s having a good season.”

The five innings pitched tied a season low and the nine hits allowed were a season high for Singer, who hadn’t allowed more than five hits in a game.

“When you take the game plan and the approach you want to – you take it out in the field and you execute it the way we did – you feel good about that, and again, it’s not just one or two guys. It’s a number of guys up and down the lineup.”

Since the start of May, Seattle ranks fourth in the American League in wRC+ (115), sixth in runs scored (53), fifth in home runs (16) and fourth in slugging percentage (.418).

‘Foul ball guy’ to throw out first pitch

Josh George of Poulsbo became an overnight celebrity Monday after he miraculously caught foul balls off the bat of Josh Rojas on back-to-back pitches.

The team brought George back to the stadium Tuesday where he was interviewed pregame and met with Rojas. George was scheduled to throw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• M’s may have prospects for trades to take advantage of ‘wide open’ AL
• Mariners trade reliever to Cubs for Triple-A 3B with strong numbers
• ‘I cringe at it,’ Salk says of one critique of Mariners’ offense
• Will MLB trade market play into what Mariners need to fix?
• Watch: Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez blasts 2nd HR of season

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