Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez leaves game with low back tightness

Mariners All-Star center fielder Julio Rodríguez came out of Seattle’s series finale against the Athletics in Oakland on Thursday in the bottom of the first inning.

Ty France at 3B, Jarred Kelenic in LF for M’s series finale vs A’s

Play stopped in the middle of the inning as Rodríguez walked off the field with a trainer. The rookie sensation re-aggravated a lower back issue that caused him to miss three games from Saturday through Monday against the Angels in Anaheim. Rodríguez was a late scratch just minutes before first pitch before Saturday’s game after feeling soreness in his back from batting practice.

Rodríguez’s injury was officially termed low back tightness by the Mariners.

Julio Rodríguez left today’s game with low back tightness.

— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) September 22, 2022

The Mariners have been struggling mightily at the plate in the last week, having lost five of their last six games going into Thursday, and scoring just one run in each of their last four losses. They showed signs of coming out of it right away Thursday with Rodríguez hitting a double to lead off the game, starting a three-run first inning. He had to come out of the game just minutes later.

Seattle is already in rough shape when it comes to injuries with home run leader Eugenio Suárez on the 10-day injured list with a finger fracture and several other players having missed time recently with various ailments.

The 21-year-old Rodríguez is the cornerstone of Seattle’s future after being signing to a unique long-term extension that has the potential of being the largest contract in MLB history depending on incentives and options written into the deal. He has been a revelation in his first big league season in 2022, posting a slash line of .280/.342/.502 for an .844 OPS with 27 home runs, 73 RBIs, 24 doubles, three triples and 25 stolen bases on 32 attempts. He recently became the fastest player in MLB history to join the 25/25 club (25 home runs, 25 stolen bases in the same season), doing so three games faster than Angels superstar Mike Trout.

The Mariners are wrapping up their series with the A’s before heading to Kansas City for three games against the Royals in their final road series of the 2022 regular season this weekend. Seattle came into Thursday with a four-game lead over Baltimore for the third and final wild card spot in the American League. The Mariners currently own the longest postseason drought in North American major league per sports at 21 years.

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