Mariners face Indians with eye on the future

MLB

The future begins Thursday for the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners will call up outfielder Jarred Kelenic and right-hander Logan Gilbert, their top hitting and pitching prospects, respectively, and both are expected to make their major-league debuts when Seattle hosts Cleveland in the opener of a four-game series at T-Mobile Park.

“I know the game will be in Seattle, I know the starter will have a Mariners uniform on, I know we’ll have a nice crowd … I just don’t know who is going to be in that uniform quite yet,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said coyly before Wednesday’s 7-1 loss to the host Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle’s fourth consecutive defeat.

Servais confirmed the duo would be called up after Wednesday’s game and that Gilbert would start.

Kelenic, 21, is considered the No. 4 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and Gilbert, 24, is ranked No. 28.

Kelenic made his Triple-A West debut with Tacoma last week, hitting two home runs in his first game. He batted. 370 with a 1.043 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in six games with the Rainiers.

Kelenic, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft out of high school, was acquired by the Mariners that offseason as the centerpiece in a trade with the New York Mets for major-leaguers Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz.

“We’re getting closer and closer. I will say it’s some part because he’s making progress, it’s some part because it’s time to take a look at him, and that’s coming sooner than later,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said after Kelenic’s first game with Tacoma. “It’s also in some part that it might add a spark to our offense if we give him that opportunity.”

Gilbert, selected 14th overall in 2018 out of Stetson University, made just one start for Tacoma, giving up one run on four hits in five innings, with no walks and five strikeouts against El Paso.

Kelenic and Gilbert spent last summer at the Mariners’ alternate training site after the minor-league season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“When I look at the big picture, it all makes sense,” Gilbert said last week. “But during (2020), you’re just trying to go out there and play and compete and work on things, and especially when we had last year canceled and we didn’t have the opportunity to play real games, meaningful games, all that kind of stuff. So, it’s just about being patient.”

The Indians have won eight of their past nine games after completing a two-game sweep of the visiting Chicago Cubs with a 2-1 victory in 10 innings Wednesday.

Amed Rosario’s bases-loaded single with two outs drove in the winning run.

“I mean it feels really, really good not only for me, but also for the team because we won,” Rosario said. “That’s what matters.”

Added reliever James Karinchak, who got the victory: “We believe in our team, man. We did that since spring training, we always thought we were going to win and I think we’re going to keep winning.”

Right-hander Zach Plesac (2-3, 3.83 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Indians on Thursday. He’s never faced the Mariners.

–Field Level Media

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