Moore's season likely over after concussion

September 22nd, 2020

SEATTLE -- Unless the Mariners manage to sneak into the playoffs, ’s breakout season has come to an end, as the versatile utility man was placed on the seven-day concussion injured list on Tuesday.

Moore took a 92 mph fastball from Brandon Bielak off his helmet in the eighth inning of Monday’s 6-1 victory over the Astros. He remained in the game, but he was placed on the concussion list after further tests.

“Once he got back to his locker after the game and the adrenaline wore off, he wasn’t feeling great,” manager Scott Servais said. “So he’s going to go through concussion protocols, and the minimum on that is seven days. It’s a big blow. He’s been great all year. He’s really swung the bat well and certainly what he can do defensively all over the field, we’re going to miss him this last week.”

Outfielder Jake Fraley was recalled from the Mariners’ alternate training site in Tacoma, Wash., to take Moore’s spot on the 28-man roster and was in the lineup in right field for Tuesday night’s game against the Astros.

Moore was also hit in the head by a 99 mph fastball from Giants reliever Sam Coonrod just six days earlier, in the seventh inning of a Sept. 16 game. Moore came out of that contest the following inning, but he was back in the lineup the next day and had played every game since.

The 28-year-old began the season fighting for a utility role, but Moore played so well that he quickly earned everyday playing time in the corner-outfield spots and more recently at second base, since Shed Long Jr.’s season ended with a stress fracture in his right shin.

“He earned it,” Servais said. “You hit, you play, and he kept hitting and creating opportunities for himself. There’s nothing better than when guys earn it. He certainly did. He earned the right to play every day. It just gives you so much confidence. He’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing here going forward.”

Moore posted a .255/.358/.496 line with eight home runs, 17 RBIs and 26 runs and is tied for third in MLB with 12 stolen bases, despite spending time on the 10-day injured list at the end of August with a sprained right wrist. He is tied with Kyle Lewis for the top bWAR on the Mariners at 1.8 and second to Lewis in fWAR at 1.4.

Servais said he’d like to see what Moore can do on a more permanent basis at second base next year.

“He is going to play, that’s the biggest thing,” Servais said. “I’d like to see him maybe get settled in at second base, but we’ll see. The offseason always brings change in how your team is going to look, but he’s in a great spot. He made such huge improvements offensively, the power, the ability to use all fields to hit, handling different pitches in the strike zone better than he ever has. It’s a credit to him and the work he put in. He’s had an awesome year for us.”

Ty France -- acquired on Aug. 30 from the Padres -- will get the majority of playing time at second base in the final week. France has started eight games at designated hitter and six at second base since his arrival, though his long-term future likely is more at third base or designated hitter.

Servais said Fraley will get a good look in the outfield in the remaining games. Fraley played six games for the Mariners in a previous stint with the big league club from Aug. 22-Sept. 4, batting .174 with a double, a triple and two stolen bases in 23 at-bats. The 25-year-old is Seattle’s No. 10 prospect, per MLB Pipeline.

“I’d like to play him as much as we can here this last week or so and see if he’s made a few adjustments,” Servais said. “From what I’ve heard, he was swinging the bat a little better. They haven’t had a lot of game action down there with getting smoked out for a few days in Tacoma. Hopefully he can spark us a little bit and just have good at-bats.”