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Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez could return Monday from

Julio Rodriguez has missed the Mariners’ last two games due to lower back soreness, and the rookie star told The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and other reporters that “I feel a few days of rest will be the best thing for it.”  There’s a chance Rodriguez could be back as early as Monday’s game with the Angels, though manager Scott Servais noted that the situation is “day to day,” especially since Monday’s contest is an afternoon start.

As much as Seattle needs all hands on deck for its playoff chase, nobody wants to risk a longer-term injury to Rodriguez, who has already emerged as one of baseball’s brightest stars.  After a brief slump in August, Rodriguez has a whopping 1.259 OPS over 59 plate appearances in September, even though he said is still getting used to the physical toll of a full Major League season.  “I’m not familiar with playing for such a long time,” Rodriguez said.  “It’s been teaching me a few things and I’m learning about my body and how to keep it healthy.”

While the Mariners hope Rodriguez’s rookie year will be extending deep into October, here are some more items from around the American League…

  • The Tigers will activate Miguel Cabrera from the 10-day injured list on Monday, and infielder Kody Clemens has already been optioned to Triple-A to make room for Cabrera on the active roster.  A left biceps strain has kept Cabrera on the shelf since September 2, but he’ll return for some more action in his 20th Major League season.  Over 393 PA this year, Cabrera is hitting .256/.305/.317 with four home runs.  Since a milestone watch is inevitably attached to Cabrera, the veteran slugger’s 506 career homers is three back of Gary Sheffield for 26th place on the all-time list, and Cabrera’s 3079 career hits put him 10 behind Ichiro Suzuki for 24th all-time.
  • Trevor Story has missed five games due to left heel soreness, but he is tentatively slated to return to the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams).  In other injury news, Nathan Eovaldi threw 65 pitches during a four-inning simulated game today, and the next step could be a minor league rehab game on Friday.  Eovaldi has missed almost a full month due to right shoulder inflammation, but is hoping to get back to the mound at least one more start with the Sox before the season is over.
  • The Red Sox designated Kevin Plawecki for assignment after Friday night’s game, and both the late timing of the transaction and the transaction itself didn’t sit well within the clubhouse.  Both Eovaldi and Rich Hill spoke to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford about Plawecki’s popularity and the importance of veteran leaders in general on a team, with Eovaldi saying “I think sometimes that goes a little further than productivity or whatever on the field.”  After today’s 13-3 victory over the Royals, McWilliams and other reporters noted that the Sox were playing Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” within the clubhouse, a song adopted by Plawecki as both a walkup song and as a team anthem in 2021.
  It's all about opportunity for Angels vs. Astros


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