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Mariners OF Jarred Kelenic fractures foot after kicking cooler

Jarred Kelenic of the Seattle Mariners at bat against the Minnesota Twins at T-Mobile Park on July 17, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

A Seattle Mariners team that was already short on offensive firepower is going to be without one of its better bats for a while — for a very bizarre reason. Outfielder Jarred Kelenic suffered a fracture in his foot after he kicked a water cooler in frustration toward the end of the team’s loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night. Kelenic had just struck out against Twins star closer Jhoan Duran

Outfield prospect Cade Marlowe has been called up to take Kelenic’s place on the active roster. The team has yet to offer any sort of timetable for Kelenic’s return, only diagnosing him with a left foot fracture. The former top prospect was seen in a walking boot prior to Thursday’s game, and he was emotional when addressing the media about the injury:

Obviously, a player breaking his foot after kicking a cooler is just the latest in a long line of embarrassing athlete injuries to be played on blooper reels to the end of time. Still, it’s hard not to feel for Kelenic here: After a miserable 2022 season in which he batted .141 and had almost three times as many strikeouts (61) as hits (23), the former top-10 pick seemed to finally be making good on some of his prospect hype this year, slashing .252/.320/.439 with 11 homers and 12 steals. He still hasn’t been the superstar we were promised when he was made the centerpiece of the deal that sent Edwin Diaz to the New York Mets, but he was a dynamic player, one of the few reliable presences for the offensively-challenged Mariners.

Seattle has had a disappointing follow-up to their Cinderella run to the postseason last year, falling back under .500 with another loss on Wednesday. They’re now five games back of the final AL Wild Card spot, and the pressure has mounted with each setback as the trade deadline gets closer and closer. Combine that team context with the weight Kelenic undoubtedly feels — not just to live up to the lofty expectations placed on him but to salvage his future as a Major Leaguer — and one can only imagine how much is riding on each at-bat.