Meet the 2019 Seattle Mariners. Do you even know who they are?
Braden Bishop hadn’t played in a major league baseball game since the first week of June, when he was pulled with what ended up being a serious spleen injury.
Brandon Brennan was shut down not too long after, returned for three games in August, but was ultimately sent to the injured list again.
Austin Adams hadn’t pitched for the Seattle Mariners since the first week of July. Neither had Dan Altavilla.
But, Sunday, at long last, as the calendar turned September and rosters expanded, the trio of ailing bullpen arms, and Bishop, the rookie outfielder who has spent months trying to work his way back from the lacerated spleen that landed him in the hospital, returned to the Mariners.
Bishop, who was rehabbing in the minors with High-A Modesto and Triple-A Tacoma the past two weeks, was immediately placed in Seattle’s lineup Sunday against Texas, starting in center field.
“Happy for him to get back,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters in Arlington. “It was crazy, that injury. … To have it play out like it did was pretty wild. Thank God we got him out of the game and got him checked on, and got it taken care of. He’s been working really hard (to get back).
“He’ll play a lot. We want to give him some exposure here in September. With him and (Mitch) Haniger going down so close to each other, it was tough. We played some guys in the outfield that haven’t played much outfield. Those are at-bats that kind of got away from Bish, so hopefully we can get him a few more in September.”
Bishop is considered the No. 14 prospect in Seattle’s organization, and started the season with the Mariners in Japan, making his MLB debut by replacing retiring Ichiro Suzuki in right field.
He was optioned to Tacoma when the Mariners returned from the trip, and had a brief stint with Seattle in May, appearing in seven games and logging his only two MLB hits thus far as part of a win in Cleveland on May 5.
Bishop drove in a run by walking with the bases loaded as part of Sunday’s 11-3 win over the Rangers, but the Mariners are hoping to further tap his potential during this final month.
“He’s a very competent center fielder,” Servais said. “He knows what he’s doing in the outfield. He’s certainly made a lot of adjustments with the bat over the last year and a half or so to be more productive there.
“There’s things he’s planning to work on yet — his base running, stealing the bases. He’s got good speed. He hasn’t stolen a lot of bases in the minor leagues. It’s something we’ve got to try to get out of him here, picking his spots and going. I’m anxious to see him play. We just got glimpses of him early on.”
Each of the three relievers who returned Sunday were expected to toss an inning, Servais said pregame, and each put up a scoreless frame.
Altavilla, who has been shipped between the Mariners and minors several times this season, tossed a scoreless sixth inning with a walk and a strikeout on 19 pitches in his first appearance since returning from a forearm strain.
Adams, who became one of Seattle’s more trusted back-end relievers before a shoulder strain sent him on an extended IL stay, worked out of a jam in the seventh, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two on 22 pitches.
Brennan landed on the IL twice this summer with shoulder issues, but made relatively quick work of the Rangers in the ninth, allowing a hit and striking out two on 16 pitches.
Seattle also promoted rookie Ryan Court, who was used as an injury replacement earlier in the summer, from Triple-A again Sunday. His addition will help give the Mariners infield options with shortstop J.P. Crawford battling a left hamstring injury. Crawford has returned from the road trip to Seattle for further tests. Servais said he could be out at least “a week or two.”
“Ryan brings flexibility,” Servais said. “We do have some pieces we can bring around the field. Utility-type guys. Ryan helps give us an extra body there.”
The Mariners are expected to call up more prospects as the month continues, but Servais said last week the club will not have a complete 40 players up.
“It’s too many players,” he said. “You can’t play them all, you can’t keep them happy, you’ve got too many guys just hanging out and that’s not what it’s about here. We want to bring guys up that we can actually play or get in games and find out more about them.
“I don’t know what the final number is going to be, but it will not be 40. I can guarantee that.”