SEATTLE – As the Mariners prepare to embark on a 10-game, 11-day road trip starting Thursday, their roster numbers figure to swell by the time they return to Seattle on Sept. 10. With 25-man rosters able to expand in September, the club could add about 10 players in the coming
SEATTLE – As the Mariners prepare to embark on a 10-game, 11-day road trip starting Thursday, their roster numbers figure to swell by the time they return to Seattle on Sept. 10. With 25-man rosters able to expand in September, the club could add about 10 players in the coming days, including a couple of its top prospects.
The arrivals figure to arrive in waves. Relievers Austin Adams, Dan Altavilla and Brandon Brennan and outfielder Braden Bishop – all currently on the 10-day injured list – could potentially rejoin the club on Sunday in Texas on the first day of September.
Several other players likely will join the team on Tuesday in Chicago after Triple-A Tacoma’s season ends on Monday, with relievers Matt Festa and Zac Grotz among the candidates.
Another small group will arrive from Double-A Arkansas when the Travelers finish their playoffs, which begin with a best-of-five series on Sept. 4 and could run as long as Sept. 15 if they reach the championship round.
Starting pitcher Justin Dunn -- ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club's No. 5 prospect -- and outfielder Kyle Lewis (No. 10) are the most likely from the Double-A contingent as both will need to be added to the 40-man roster this winter anyway to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, so bringing them up now would give them an early taste of the Majors.
Two other injured position players – outfielder Mitch Haniger and second baseman Shed Long – could also join the team whenever they get healthy enough to play again. Haniger is still waiting for his sore lower back to clear up, and Long is recovering from a broken finger on his right hand.
“It’s always good to get the reinforcements, certainly on the pitching side of it,” manager Scott Servais said. “You don’t want to run the bullpen guys too hard here at the end of the year. I’m looking forward to that. Some of the other callups will kind of be dependent on when the Minor League seasons end and how much we bring up there."
What Servais doesn’t want is so many players that he can’t find playing time for them. He said most of the everyday starters will get occasional days off in September, with the possible exception of third baseman Kyle Seager, who missed much of the early season with a hand injury.
“What you won’t see is us having a full 40-man roster in there,” Servais said. “That’s too many players. You can’t play them all, you can’t keep them happy. You have too many guys just hanging out. That’s not what it’s about. We want to bring guys up that we can actually play and get in games and find out more about them. I don’t know what the final number will be, but it won’t be 40.”
Kelenic, Rodriguez headed to Arizona Fall League
Outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez, two of baseball’s top young prospects, are among eight Mariners named Wednesday to play on the Peoria Javelinas squad in the upcoming Arizona Fall League.
Kelenic is the Mariners’ No. 1-ranked prospect and No. 23 overall in MLB per MLB Pipeline. The 20-year-old is currently playing for Double-A Arkansas. Rodriguez (No. 3 and No. 52 in the rankings) is playing at Class A Advanced Modesto as an 18-year-old.
The AFL season starts on Sept. 18, and each MLB team is represented in the six-team league. Also selected from the Mariners are infielder Joe Rizzo (Seattle’s No. 20 prospect) and left-hander Aaron Fletcher (No. 27), as well as shortstop Jose Caballero, right-handers Sam Delaplane and Penn Murfee and left-hander Raymond Kerr.
Fraley dealing with ex-teammate’s tragedy
Rookie center fielder Jake Fraley was not in the Mariners' lineup for a second straight day on Wednesday after learning of the tragedy that hit his friend and former Minor League teammate, Blake Bivens.
Bivens' wife and young son were among three people murdered in a domestic incident in Virginia on Tuesday. Fraley played with Bivens last season with the Rays’ Class A Advanced Charlotte team before being traded to the Mariners last winter. Bivens was playing this season with the Rays’ Double-A Montgomery team.
Fraley took Tuesday off, but he was back with the Mariners on Wednesday and available to play if needed in their series finale with the Yankees.
The 24-year-old, who was just called up by Seattle last week, said his wife was very close to Bivens’ wife, and clearly the news was devastating.
“I have a job to do,” said a subdued Fraley. “But we’re just waiting to hear from Blake and see what’s going to happen next.”
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.