Rangers, Mariners meet hoping to trend upward

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Texas Rangers right-hander Kyle Cody made his major-league debut at Seattle on Aug. 21, striking out the side in the eighth inning of a 7-4 loss.

Friday night, Cody will return to Seattle to face the Mariners in his first major-league start. He’ll be taking the rotation spot of 2019 All-Star Mike Minor, who was sent to the Oakland Athletics at the trade deadline.

“It’s been pretty surreal, to be honest,” Cody said before the Rangers’ 8-4 loss at Houston on Thursday. “It wasn’t really expected this year. I’ve been pretty grateful for the dominoes falling into place. It’s just been a pretty amazing experience so far.”

The start will be Cody’s first at any level since July 10, 2018, while on a rehabilitation assignment with the rookie-level Arizona League Rangers.

Tommy John surgery soon followed and Cody, 26, a former sixth-round pick out of the University of Kentucky, didn’t pitch again until this summer.

“It was honestly really hard at first,” Cody said. “Being away from your normal teammates and your normal life, being on the road and whatnot. It’s something that took me a lot of time to get used to.”

Cody (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has made three relief appearances for the Rangers, pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings with opponents batting just .077 (1-for-13) against him.

The Rangers were swept in that three-game series Aug. 21-23 in Seattle, extending their losing streak to eight games. They’re 3-6 since, dropping two of three in Houston to open a seven-game trip that concludes this weekend.

The Mariners have been off since a 2-1 victory Monday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif. Seattle was scheduled to play host to a three-game midweek series against the Oakland Athletics, but that was postponed after a positive COVID-19 test in the A’s organization last weekend.

Left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (1-2, 6.12) is set to take the mound Friday for Seattle. He started twice against the Rangers last season as a rookie, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA.

Kikuchi is coming off his first victory of the season, Aug. 27 at San Diego, in which he went five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto also was active at the Aug. 31 trade deadline, sending catcher Austin Nola and relievers Austin Adams, Dan Altavilla and Taylor Williams to San Diego in a pair of deals. In addition, right-hander Taijuan Walker was dealt to Toronto on Aug. 27.

Catcher Luis Torrens and infielder Ty France, who both came from the Padres, are expected to be in uniform for Seattle on Friday.

Outfield prospect Taylor Trammell, the key to the deal for the rebuilding Mariners, was sent to the team’s alternate training site in Tacoma, Wash.

“We’re a young team and I’ve played with and against some of the guys on this team,” Trammell said on a video call Wednesday. “The energy meshes well with me. This is a good opportunity for me to get out there and just play, just be myself and not worry about anything other than just playing my game and contributing as much as I possibly can.”

–Field Level Media

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