Mariners Roster Moves: Jorge Polanco returns, rookie optioned

Jun 24, 2024, 12:06 PM | Updated: 1:11 pm

Seattle Mariners Jorge Polanco...

Jorge Polanco of the Seattle Mariners celebrates a single against Atlanta on April 29, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners are getting one of their key offseason additions back, with second baseman Jorge Polanco returning from a stint on the injured list ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Polanco has been reinstated from the 10-day injured list after recovering from a right hamstring strain that has kept him out of major league action since May 27. To make room on the active roster, Seattle optioned rookie first baseman Tyler Locklear back to the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

The 30-year-old Polanco was penciled into Seattle’s lineup Monday playing second and hitting in the No. 2 spot.

Polanco was the Mariners’ most notable acquisition last winter, coming to Seattle in a trade that sent four players plus cash to the Minnesota Twins. A one-time All-Star who hit 33 home runs for Minnesota in 2021, the switch-hitting Polanco has mostly struggled to this point with the M’s, owning a .195/.293/.302 slash line for a .595 OPS with five homers in 46 games.

Polanco appeared in six games combined with the Rainiers and High-A Everett over the past couple weeks on a rehab assignment, going 6 for 15 with a double and three homers, including one from each side of the plate last Friday.

The Mariners have some potential flexibility with Polanco back, as rookie second baseman Ryan Bliss has a slash of .265/.345/.429 (.774 OPS) with three doubles, a triple, a homer and four stolen bases in 21 games since being called up from Tacoma when Polanco hit the injured list. Polanco could fit into Seattle’s designated hitter mix – especially with Mitch Garver now the team’s backup catcher – and he also has played third base and shortstop in his career. It’s most likely he will remain the regular second base option for now, however, as the M’s no doubt hope to see his bat truly get going for the first time with the team.

Locklear, 23, heads back to the Rainiers after appearing in 11 games in his first MLB stint with Seattle. The 2022 second-round draft pick made his big league debut when he was called up to take Ty France’s roster spot on June 9, and he initially stayed when France returned from the IL last week. Locklear went 6 for 30 (.200) with two homers and a double during his time with Seattle, striking out 12 times to one walk.

Locklear, who showed impressive defensive ability at first with the M’s, will be able to get regular playing time with the Rainiers after receiving just three plate appearances since Seattle’s road trip began on June 18.

Mariners rookie Tyler Locklear making good early impressions

The M’s are 45-35 on the season and enter Monday with a six-game lead for first place in the American League West, with Houston (38-40) and Texas (37-40) both closely behind them.

Seattle starts a three-game series against the Rays that will wrap up a nine-day road trip at 3:50 p.m. Monday, with Bryan Woo matching up against Tampa Bay’s Taj Bradley on the mound. Mariners Radio Network coverage begins at 2:30 with the pregame show on Seattle Sports. For details on how to listen to M’s broadcasts from Seattle Sports, click here.

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