The Yankees did not face Julio Rodríguez in their two series against the Mariners over the last two weeks, but the injured rookie plans on playing New York later this year.
Rodríguez missed those series, New York and Seattle’s only regular-season matchups, with a wrist contusion. That means the only way Rodríguez could play the Yankees this year is if the two teams meet in the playoffs.
That’s exactly what the 21-year-old outfielder is hoping for.
“We’re going to come back and play you guys in the postseason,” Rodríguez told Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge before Thursday’s series finale in Seattle, per MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer.
Rodríguez made that bold proclamation while he and Judge exchanged signed memorabilia behind home plate. Rodríguez traded one of his No. 44 jerseys and a bat for one of Judge’s bats before posing for a photo. The two All-Stars also discussed hitting before first pitch.
Judge has played like an MVP favorite this season, hitting .304 with a 1.077 OPS and a major league-leading 45 home runs. Rodríguez, meanwhile, was enjoying a sensational first season in the majors prior to getting hurt. Even with some down time, he’s positioned himself as a Rookie of the Year frontrunner, slashing .271/.334/.482 with 18 home runs, 39 extra-base hits, 57 RBI and 21 stolen bases.
Seattle hopes to activate Rodríguez on Friday, according to The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish. He has not played since July 30.
Even with Rodríguez on the sidelines, the Mariners did just fine against the Yankees. Seattle took two out of three at Yankee Stadium between Aug. 1 and Aug. 3. The M’s then did the same this week in the Emerald City, beating New York on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Yankees lost the season series to Seattle for the first time since 2002.
With the Mariners currently in possession of the second Wild Card and the Yankees leading the American League East, these two could indeed square off in the postseason. Should that happen, the Mariners will be even more dangerous if Rodríguez is healthy.
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