TORONTO — The ball was resting in Eugenio Suarez’s locker and will be destined for a mantle where baseballs from his first major league home run, his 100and homer and other special moments are also on display.
In Monday’s 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays, he hit his 200and career circuit at the MLB level. Right-handed Trevor Richards’ towering outburst hit the stands at center left and bounced downfield. This meant he didn’t have to negotiate with a fan to get a baseball that meant a lot to him.
“It’s not how I wanted it,” he said. “I wanted to celebrate with my teammates with a victory. This game is like that. I’m just going to enjoy the moment and thank God for giving me the opportunity to play these games and get 200 homers in my career.
His first MLB home run was also his first major league success. It happened on June 7, 2014, in the first game he ever started in the major leagues. Playing at shortstop and ninth at bat for the Tigers against the Red Sox, Suarez started the fourth inning with a solo homer over the left field wall at Comerica Park against southpaw Jon Lester.
“Now I have my 200and homer eight years later,” he said. “It’s a bit crazy. When I was young, I never thought I would have the opportunity to hit 200 home runs in the major leagues. It’s a dream come true.
Signed as an international free agent from Venezuela, Suarez hit just four homers in 85 games in his first season in MLB. He was traded to the Reds along with minor league pitcher Jonathan Crawford for pitcher Alfredo Simon before the 2015 season.
Suarez found his power in Cincinnati. He hit 13 home runs in 97 games in 2015 and has seen his power numbers increase every year. He hit a total of 189 homers with the Reds in seven seasons, including 49 in 2019. From 2017 to 2021, he hit a total of 155 homers.
Only 22 other active MLB players have hit at least 200 homers.
Wide receiver Tom Murphy (dislocated left shoulder) is upping his activity level in hopes of being activated from the injured list at some point on this road trip.
Murphy trained with his typical intensity while teeing off and playing catch before games.
“He’s moving forward,” manager Scott Servais said. “I think the plan was to start doing more swings in the cage and grab a bullpen today or tomorrow. He is working very hard to come back as soon as possible. I’m pretty optimistic we might see him in Boston at some point.
Relievers Erik Swanson (right elbow inflammation) and Matt Festa (right elbow tendinitis) are progressing toward a return
Festa, who was on the disabled list on May 4, began a rehabilitation mission with High-A Everett on Tuesday evening.
Swanson, who was on the 15-day disabled list on May 14, no longer has discomfort in the back of his elbow due to a nerve issue. He would be eligible to return on May 29.
“He feels much better,” Servais said. “Hopefully at the end of the 15 days he will be ready to be back and active. So before that he will probably have a rehab mission.
First baseman Evan White (sports hernia) will begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma on Wednesday in Sacramento. White was diagnosed with the injury during spring training and underwent surgery on March 30.
Outfielder/designated hitter Kyle Lewis was back on the Rainiers roster as the designated hitter for Tuesday’s game in Sacramento, continuing his rehab. Lewis last played Saturday for Tacoma, going 1-4. He didn’t play in Sunday’s rain-delayed game.
He played seven games during his 20-day rehabilitation mission and played consecutive games twice. After starting his second game of the rehab relay in left field, Lewis started the rest of the games at DH.
Lewis’ rehab officially ends on Monday. The last game he could play for Tacoma is Sunday. Presumably, he would be activated from the injured list to open Seattle’s next homestand on Monday night against the Oakland Athletics.
If he’s not ready, Lewis and the Mariners can ask to be given a second rehab assignment. It’s not common, but Franklin Gutierrez got that permission with the Mariners.
At the farm
After being sidelined for minor league minicamp and spring training with a strained right lat muscle, right-hander Emerson Hancock made his 2022 debut Tuesday night for Class AA Arkansas in Little Rock.
Hancock, who is ranked as the Mariners’ No. 5 prospect in the organization, has struggled with injuries since being taken in the first round (No. 6 overall) of the 2020 MLB Draft.
He needed 34 pitches to get past a first inning where he allowed two runs on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Working on limited pitches, Hancock struck out the first batter in the second inning and was out of the game at 36 pitches.
Outfielder Jarred Kelenic showed up at Class AAA Tacoma and was part of the starting lineup – playing right field and hitting third in the order behind Lewis.
Kelenic was picked for Tacoma on Friday, but the Mariners told him to take the three allotted one-player days before showing up for a mental and physical reset. Kelenic returned to Wisconsin to see his family. Although given his competitive nature, he likely did some baseball activity at his family owned hitting/practice facility.