Mariners have Dustin Ackley playing left field at Triple-A

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Dustin Ackley has hit .429 with a 1.143 OPS in 11 games at Triple-A since being demoted back to the minors by the Mariners last month, but whenever he returns to the majors it might not be as a second baseman.

Seattle seems committed to giving rookie Nick Franklin a lengthy opportunity to establish himself as the long-term second baseman and last night the Mariners had Ackley start in left field at Triple-A.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that Ackley is also expected to get some reps in center field and right field while in Tacoma. Ackley played the outfield in college before Tommy John surgery forced a move to first base and he’s been almost exclusively a second baseman as a pro, logging zero time in the outfield before yesterday.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.