Injury update: Julio Rodriguez’s right quad injury requires an MRI.

Young pitcher Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners left tonight’s game against the Blue Jays in the first inning with a quad injury. Rodriguez “felt something” in his lower right quad during pregame warm-ups, according to Adam Jude of The Seattle Times, and was removed from the game prior to his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning. Rodriguez is scheduled to have an MRI later this evening; however, the exact nature of the problem is yet unknown, according to manager Scott Servais, who briefed reporters (including Jude). Despite the difficulty, Rodriguez told reporters (including Daniel Kramer of MLB.com) that he “should be” okay after the game, but he would not comment further.

The Mariners’ decision to give Rodriguez a day off was understandable given the recent bumps and bruises, but the fact that he started the game in the lineup and left before even getting an at-bat is undoubtedly concerning to Mariners fans. Rodriguez fouled a ball off his knee during yesterday’s game against Toronto and was attended to by the team’s trainer after jamming his thumb while making a diving catch on Thursday.

With a stellar rookie campaign that landed him in the top 10 of the AL MVP voting, the AL Rookie of the Year title, and a huge contract deal back in 2022, the 23-year-old phenomenon made his debut. He bounced back from that performance with a good 2023 season. He had a poor start to the season but picked up steam in the second half, placing him fourth in the AL MVP voting behind Shohei Ohtani, Corey Seager, and Marcus Semien.The young player had an outstanding career slash line of.279/.338/.495 going into the 2024 season in the major leagues, which was further enhanced by his solid centre field defence and 62-for-79 on the basepaths.

That 2024 season hasn’t been easy for Rodriguez, though. Despite having a sluggish start in 2024, he managed to maintain a slash line that was roughly league average throughout that period of difficulty. The young player had a 104 wRC+ and was hitting.251/.312/.416 one year ago today. Even such performance would represent a significant increase over the stats Rodriguez has achieved in his rookie campaign at age 23.

Rodriguez has only hit.247/.295/.355 through 89 games this season, 15% below the league average with a wRC+ of 85. Although his excellent baserunning (18-for-20 on the bases) and premium position defence have somewhat offset his lack of offensive performance, the 23-year-old’s season has been more akin to that of a quality regular than a consistent MVP candidate.

 

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