The Mariners planned to ease Jarred Kelenic back into game action slowly, mostly due to his recent injury issues, but also partly because of logistics.
The Mariners and Angels had agreed ahead of time to cap Wednesday’s 7-4 loss at seven innings, making this an abbreviated evening for all players. Kelenic didn’t start, so the math was easy — whatever playing time Kelenic received in this game would be limited.
Kelenic ended up with two plate appearances. The first resulted in a four-pitch walk in the sixth inning, and the second ended the game when Kelenic worked the count to 3-2 before grounding out to second.
In fact, the most action Kelenic saw was when he trotted around the bases on Evan White’s grand slam following the walk. The results weren’t important — what mattered was that Kelenic was on the field, playing, a mere 11 days after he suffered an adductor strain in his left knee coming out of the batter’s box in a game against the White Sox.
“He was excited to get back in the game,” manager Scott Servais said. “He was fired up. It was great that he got two at-bats. I didn’t really know it would happen in a seven-inning game tonight, but we were able to put some baserunners out there tonight and turn the lineup over.”
Kelenic has been competing with Braden Bishop, Jake Fraley, José Marmolejos and Taylor Trammell for the starting job in left field. Kelenic has time to make up, but not nearly as much as the Mariners feared when the injury first happened.
“Jarred always looks great in the batter’s box,” Servais said. “He’s ready to go, he’s on every pitch. He hadn’t played in 10 or 11 days, so it’ll take a while to get his timing back, but I thought he looked fine today.”