If the Mariners are going to keep having these problems, they may want to consider moving to the NFC West. Fewer games. Fewer injuries.
Winners of five in a row heading into Tuesday night’s game against the division-leading Oakand A’s, the Mariners (28-27) were without CF Kyle Lewis, out for awhile with a small meniscus tear in his right knee. He injured it in the eighth inning Monday as he leaped for ball beyond his reach and landed awkwardly. He left the game. After an exam Tuesday morning, he went on the 10-day injured list.
Manager Scott Servais said pre-game that Lewis would be out for an extended period, and surgery is possible.
“I’m not exactly sure what the course of action will be through his rehab, if it is a scope-type surgery or what the deal will be there,” he said. “I’ll know more in 24 hours.
“The sad thing is that he was on a great routine. He was feeling really good. I know just talking to him daily. It’s the best his legs had felt underneath him. We certainly saw what he was doing at the plate, and the bat was really heating up, so we’re going to miss him.”
Update Thursday: On his weekly show on ESPN 710 radio, general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed that Lewis is likely out for months.
“Much like we experienced coming out of spring training, anything that we do with Kyle, we’re going to make sure that we’re hypersensitive to his needs,” Dipoto said. “And we want him to have a long career here in Seattle and to thrive.
“My guess is that it is going to result this time in a bit of a prolonged absence. I am hopeful that we’ll see him again this year on the field, but I don’t think it’s going to be quick. So we’re going to take our time, identify how we can help.”
The Tuesday game also marked the return of a prominent name from the Mariners’ heavily populated injured list — No. 1 starter Marco Gonzales, who hadn’t pitched since April 27 because of strained forearm. He pitched four innings and allowed only a single run, while matching his season high with six strikeouts.
After he left ahead 4-1, the bullpen collapsed behind him, ending the winning streak with a 12-6 loss (box).
The Mariners have used 46 players this season, most in MLB. Yet they were so short on relievers that infielder Jack Mayfield was called on to get the final out in ninth.
This is the third time the knee cost Lewis playing time. He lost the first 17 games of this season after hitting his knee against an outfield wall in spring training. He also lost almost 18 months in the minor leagues after a 2016 surgery to repair anterior and medial collateral ligaments torn in a collision at home plate playing for Class A Everett.
To replace Lewis, hitting .246/.333/.392 with four doubles, five homers, 11 RBIs, 16 walks and 37 strikeouts in 36 games, the Mariners called up Taylor Trammell, who was ripping up Class AAA.
In 17 games with the Rainiers since his demotion from the Mariners’ starting lineup, the rookiehit .384/.413/.726 with seven doubles, six homers, 18 RBIs, three walks and 17 strikeouts in 80 plate appearances. He was the opening night starter in center field in place of the American League Rookie of the Year, but struggled at the plate — .157/.255/.337 with three doubles, four homers, 11 RBIs, 10 walks and 41 strikeouts.
In addition, the Mariners made a lineup change. Rookie OF Jarred Kelenic, batting .118 and hitless in his last 22 at-bats, was dropped for the first time from leadoff to the sixth spot, from where he struck out three times in four at-bats.
Servais said Kelenic will replace Lewis in center most of the time, with Trammell playing left. Wednesday’s outfield had all youngsters — Trammel in left, Kelenic in center and Jake Fraley in right, as Mitch Haniger was in the DH spot.