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Can the Mariners continue to flourish without Jesse Winker for six games?

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SAN DIEGO — It’s one suspension served down, two still to go for the Mariners, who welcomed shortstop J.P. Crawford back in time for the first game of a two-game series against the Padres on Monday afternoon at Petco Park.

The Mariners survived Crawford’s four-game suspension, as they took three of four games at home against the A’s. But now they’ll have to do without left fielder Jesse Winker for the next six games.

Oddly enough, the Mariners will likely lean on the same player who replaced Crawford to replace Winker in left field.

Dylan Moore started the four games in Crawford’s absence and had a home run in Thursday’s win over the A’s and had three walks in the series. He got the start Monday in left field for Winker.

“Everyone knows we’re a little short right now,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais. “But I thought D-Mo (Moore) did a heck of a job the last four days. He had one big home run, got on base a lot. He’ll continue to get playing time.”

But playing two games against the Padres (47-34) and then four at home against the Jays (44-36) without Winker will be yet another challenge to a roster that, in addition to Winker’s absence, has several key players on the injured list — Mitch Haniger, Ty France and Kyle Lewis, for starters.

“It’s unfortunate we’re paying the price for what happened in Anaheim over a week ago,” Servais said.

Oh yes, the dust-up in Anaheim on June 26 when Crawford, Winker Julio Rodríguez and Servais were ejected for their part in a benches-clearing incident against the Angels.

Winker received a seven-game suspension, Crawford got five games and Rodríguez got two games. Crawford and Winker had their respective suspensions reduced by one game. The Mariners are holding out hope that Rodríguez will be able to do the same at some point.

The Mariners knew the suspensions were coming and feared — rightfully so — how it would impact the lineup. They got through the A’s series fine without Crawford, but doing so without Winker against two playoff-caliber teams like the Padres and Jays will likely be more difficult.

Winker is hitting .226, buried after a terribly slow start where he hit .169 in April. The average went up to .243 in May and then .277 in June, where he had four home runs and 14 RBIs and nearly as many walks (23) as strikeouts (26).

“It’s a challenge,” Servais said. “When Wink is hitting, we’re a much different offense. We’re more productive … scoring more runs and getting more traffic (on base). Hopefully it doesn’t screw him up too much.”

There was some good news Monday as Servais indicated that the team’s best hitter, first baseman Ty France, could be back in the starting lineup sometime during the team’s upcoming four-game series against the Jays, which will begin on Thursday at T-Mobile Park.

France missed his 11th game Monday as he remained in Seattle for treatment for the left shoulder sprain. France is fifth in the American League in hitting (.315). Also, Lewis started a minor-league rehabilitation stint on Sunday with Triple-A Tacoma. Lewis missed his 35th consecutive game Monday after sustaining a concussion in May.

The Mariners hope at some point this month — though certainly later in the month — they might actually be able to field a lineup that includes Lewis, France and Haniger, who has been out with a right high ankle sprain since April. That has yet to happen in 2022.

“We’ve missed them,” Servais said last week. “They’re proven players in this league.”

(Photo of Jesse Winker and Ty France: Steph Chambers / Getty Images)



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