By Kirby Arnold
It looked like Carlos Truinfel’s season at Class AA West Tennessee had ended just as it was beginning when he suffered a broken leg in the second game he played on April 10. It was an ugly injury that required surgery later in the month, and the 4-6 month recovery process pretty much made it look like this year would be a wash.
It’s been a long summer, no doubt, for the 19-year-old who has rehabbed since surgery at the Mariners’ training complex in Peoria, Ariz. But reports that his season is over were premature.
Both Mariners minor league director Pedro Grifol and strength coach James Clifford say Truinfel has made tremendous progress. Grifol said there’s a good chance Truinfel could rejoin West Tennessee for the final few games of the season and the playoffs if the DiamondJaxx maintain their second-half division lead.
“He’s catching balls, he’s hitting and he’s preparing himself to maybe join the West Tennessee club toward the end,” Grifol said.
Truinfel’s last hurdle may be his biggest. He still must get past the mental reluctance to trust his rehabbed leg.
Truinfel was the youngest player in the Arizona Fall League last year, and he’ll go back again this year, Grifol said. Several other Mariners minor leaguers will play with the Peoria Javelinas this fall, although Grifol didn’t want to name names until the league makes its official announcement. He did say, however, that it could be heavy on pitching from Class AA West Tennessee.
Could that mean the Mariners’ last two first-round draft picks, relievers Phillippe Aumont and Josh Fields, will be pitching in Peoria this October and November? We’ll see. Both haven’t been able to put in a full season with West Tennessee this season, Fields with an arm problem and now an oblique injury, and Aumont after he left the team part of July to hande a personal situation back home in Canada.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said early this week that this year’s first-round pick, outfielder Dustin Ackley, will play in the fall league.