Mariners place Polanco on IL, call up prospect to make MLB debut

May 27, 2024, 3:59 PM | Updated: 6:53 pm

Seattle Mariners Jorge Polanco IL 2024...

Jorge Polanco of the Seattle Mariners at bat against the Braves on May 1. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners placed second baseman Jorge Polanco on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain and called up middle-infield prospect Ryan Bliss from Triple-A Tacoma on Monday afternoon.

The 24-year-old Bliss was set to make his major league debut on Monday night, starting at second base and batting eighth for the Mariners’ series opener against the Houston Astros.

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Bliss, a 2021 second-round pick, was acquired in Seattle’s trade-deadline deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks last summer. He is ranked by as the Mariners’ No. 11 prospect and by Baseball America as the organization’s No. 15 prospect.

Last season, Bliss became one of just two minor league players in the past 30 years to hit at least .300 with 20-plus home runs and 50-plus stolen bases in a season. He batted .304 with 23 homers, 55 steals and a .902 OPS in 128 games split between Double-A and Triple-A.

This season, the 5-foot-7 Bliss hit .247/.382/.445 with seven homers, three triples, nine doubles, 28 stolen bases and an .827 OPS in 50 games at Tacoma, where he split time between shortstop and second base. Over his past 15 games, he batted .304 with four homers. His 28 steals are the most in Triple-A this season and the third-most in the minor leagues.

“He’s played great, especially over the last month,” Seattle general manager Justin Hollander said. “He’s played really, really well on all three sides of the ball. In the batter’s box, defensively and on the bases, he’s been an impact player. I think we saw him really control the strike zone over the last month too. The walks have gone up, the strikeouts have gone down, he’s hitting for power. He’s done a lot of things well. … It just made a lot of sense for this to be his time.”

Polanco, meanwhile, has been dealing with a hamstring issue for the past two weeks. The 30-year-old veteran missed seven games with tightness in his right hamstring after exiting early on May 13. He returned to the lineup on May 22 and appeared in the next five games, making four starts at second base and a pinch-hitting appearance. He then exited with hamstring tightness again on Sunday, leaving in the sixth inning of the Mariners’ series finale against the Washington Nationals.

Hollander said Polanco will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, but that the club doesn’t believe the injury is serious.

“It was probably my fault we didn’t put him on the IL to begin with,” Hollander said. “We had hoped to get him back within the 10-day period and we did just barely. … He wanted to be out there and we were making progress, so we let it drift probably too long. And then it felt tight again yesterday in the game and (we) just felt like it was the right thing to do now to just let it heal, so (we) put him on the IL. We don’t anticipate a lengthy absence.”

Polanco has struggled in his first season with Seattle after coming over from the Minnesota Twins in a five-player trade this past January. He is slashing just .195/.293/.302 with five homers, two doubles and a .595 OPS in 46 games this year. Over his 10 seasons with the Twins, he batted .269 with 112 homers and a .780 OPS.

More injury updates

Hard-throwing reliever Gregory Santos is progressing in his rehab process after landing on the 60-day IL with a lat strain. The 24-year-old right-hander has stretched out his throwing program to 105 feet and threw a handful of pitches off a slope this past weekend, according to Hollander.

• Utility player Sam Haggerty was moved to the 60-day IL after the Mariners announced last week that he’s out for the season with a torn right Achilles. He was injured playing center field for Triple-A Tacoma on May 18, when he crashed into the wall and fell to the ground in pain while chasing a deep fly ball. He underwent surgery and is projected to return next May, according to Hollander. The 29-year-old Haggerty appeared in eight games for the Mariners between April 29 and May 14, going 1-for-15 at the plate with a stolen base. He spent the rest of the season in Tacoma, where he slashed .310/.388/.338 with two doubles and seven steals in 19 games.

More on the Seattle Mariners

• Morosi: It’s ‘exactly the right time’ for Mariners to go all-in on trades
• Drayer: How Mariners are trying to find more consistency at plate
• Drayer: How Mariners pulling Gilbert points to bigger picture
• Watch: Mariners CF Julio Rodríguez homers in 2nd straight game
• Seattle Mariners get key reliever back from the injured list

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