Let’s get some injury updates from the American League…
- Jarred Kelenic is progressing well as he tries to get his left knee back to full strength, per the Athletic’s Corey Brock (via Twitter). The young outfielder plans to meet with the training staff today and set a course to return to action. Kelenic himself was bullish about his ability to make a quick return. Assuming no setbacks, there’s no reason that Kelenic shouldn’t be ready for the season opener. Whether or not he makes the Mariners’ opening day roster will be one of the more closely watched roster decisions around the game. The 21-year-old certainly expects to make the roster, despite only 21 games of experience at Double-A.
- Shed Long Jr. lost his starting second base job to Dylan Moore last season, and he looked to make a strong impression this spring. Instead, inflammation in his surgically-repaired right shin has kept him out of action entirely, writes the Athletic’s Corey Brock. It now seems unlikely that Long will even be ready in time to make the team. The Mariners had high hopes for Long’s role in 2021, even if he wasn’t the starter at second. After making a bid for a number of utility types in free agency, the Mariners came up empty, presumably leaving room for Long to take on that role – even after slashing .171/.242/.291 in 128 plate appearances in 2020.
- Ji-Man Choi had his knee examined by the team doctor yesterday after experiencing some tightness, per Adam Berry of MLB.com (via Twitter). The issue hasn’t kept Choi from participating in drills, so the team is not overly concerned at the moment. While Choi’s splits and defensive limitations somewhat minimize his potential role on the team, he brings much-needed thump when he is in the lineup. He also adds to the club as a recognizable and likeable personality. The sometimes-switch-hitting slugger adds the most value against right-handed pitching. He has a career 125 wRC+ against righties. Were he to miss significant time, Yoshi Tsutsugo could step in, while Brandon Lowe could slide over from second or Francisco Mejia could fill the lineup spot as well. The Rays would have a number of potential ways to re-shape their roster. Hopefully, however, no changes will be necessary. That said, Choi is likely to be shut down for a week to ten days, adds Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).