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Mariners demote Jarred Kelenic hours before first Mets matchup

Instead of a “homecoming,” Jarred Kelenic got a demotion.

Hours before what would have been his first game against the Mets, three and a half years after they traded the outfield prospect to the Mariners in a blockbuster deal for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, the struggling Kelenic was optioned to Triple-A.

Mariners manager Scott Servais delivered the news to Kelenic on Friday morning in New York, wiping out a Citi Field showdown between the 22-year-old and the organization that drafted him sixth-overall in 2018.

“To sum it up, not happy,” Servais said of Kelenic’s reaction. “I don’t expect players to be happy when things like that don’t go their way, and he was off to a rough start. But I would say very mature. He understands where he’s at. He knows that it’s critical for him to be a big part of our offense for us to do well and how we’re built out.

Jarred Kelenic dives for a fly ball on May 7, 2022.
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“He wants to get it going right as quick as he can and knows maybe he does need to step back and get in an environment that’s going to allow him to do that. It’s probably not going to happen here right now, so let’s do the right thing for the player, which we’ve always tried to do. I think stepping back right now is the right thing.”

Kelenic, who debuted in the big leagues last year, made the Mariners’ roster this year out of spring training. But through 30 games, he was hitting just .140 with a .509 OPS and 36 strikeouts.

Servais pointed out multiple times that Kelenic is still only 22, which made him the ninth-youngest player in the majors on Opening Day.

“Talent usually, the cream rises to the top. The talent will play out,” Servais said. “Where we’re at in this season, where he’s at, let’s take a step back now. Hopefully we can get him back here sooner than later.”

The expectations surrounding Kelenic had ballooned since the Mets traded him away. Multiple outlets ranked him the No. 4 prospect in all of baseball entering the 2021 season. The trade threatened to be a disaster for the Mets, especially after Cano missed the 2021 season with another PED suspension and then was designated for assignment earlier this month.

But Kelenic’s own struggles mean he won’t get a chance to show the Mets what they might be missing this weekend.

“I don’t think swing-wise there’s a ton of adjustments,” Servais said. “He just needs to go down and play, relax, have fun again and the results will come.”

via

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