Mariners activate Rodríguez, demote Kelenic in series of roster moves

The Mariners may have had Thursday off ahead of Friday’s series opener in Texas, but they were busy in the evening as the team made four roster moves, including adding its biggest star back to the roster.

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All-Star outfielder Julio Rodríguez, who had been sidelined for roughly two weeks with a hand and wrist injury, was activated from the 10-day injured list. So too was catcher Curt Casali, who acquired the Mariners at the trade deadline from the San Francisco Giants.

To make room for those two on the roster, outfielder Jarred Kelenic was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma while catcher Luis Torrens was designated for assignment.

For Rodríguez, he was hit by a fastball he struck out on in Houston on July 30 and had been out of action since. The 21-year-old outfielder is the frontrunner for American League Rookie of the year as he’s slashing .271/.334/.482 with 18 home runs, 57 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 96 games this season. Rodríguez also accumulated 4.0 wins above replacement (WAR) while being the only rookie named to the 2022 All-Star Game.

As for Casali, the 33-year-old catcher has not played in the big leagues since July 4 due to an oblique injury. He’s been rehabbing at the Triple-A level for a few weeks, and now will backup starting catcher Cal Raleigh. Casali is slashing .231/.325/.370 in 41 games in 2022 with four home runs and 14 RBIs. The veteran backstop was also notably in Cincinnati from 2018-20, where he was teammates with Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez and caught new Mariners ace Luis Castillo.

Kelenic, 23, made the opening day roster this year but struggled out of the gate and was demoted to Tacoma in May. After hitting well in Triple-A, he was added back to the Mariners as they dealt with a number of injuries, including to Rodríguez. The 2018 first-round pick did hit a big home run in New York off All-Star Gerrit Cole, but he hit just 2-for-27 (.074) in this most recent stint with Seattle.

Torrens, 26, was a breakout star for the Mariners last year, hitting 15 home runs and driving in 47 runs in 108 games, but he failed to recreate that same level of production in 2022, slashing just .214/.262/.252 with one home run and 10 RBIs with 45 strikeouts to eight walks. Torrens was acquired by the Mariners from San Diego in 2020 along with Ty France, Andres Munoz and Taylor Trammell, and was out of minor league options, thus he needed to be designated for assignment in order for Casali to join the roster. If Torrens clears waivers, he can be outrighted to Tacoma.

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