Mariners Reliever Diego Castillo's Return to Tropicana Field Bittersweet


PETERSBURG, Fla. — Even though they'd been away from their old teams only since Saturday, the hugs and greetings seemed like they had been gone months if not years.

Right-hander JT Chargois, now a member of the Rays' bullpen, hugged and talked to every person in Mariners gear, admitting to Tampa media members it was "emotional" to see his recent teammates.

The player he was traded to Tampa for, closer Diego Castillo, didn't have quite the hugging tour. He talked to a handful of staff members before the game but admitted he's been preoccupied in trying to get some of his necessary belongings from his home in the area ready to be shipped to Seattle. He's also trying to decide if his family will remain in the Tampa area or travel with him back to Seattle.

"You get traded and you leave for a few days and you come back to play against the team that originally had you, it's a little crazy and weird," Castillo said through Rays interpreter and his close friend, Manny Navarro.

But getting some of his personal stuff handled is a benefit. Infielder Abraham Toro was in Seattle with the Astros when he was traded. With the Mariners going on the 10-game road trip before returning to Seattle, he has yet to get any of his things from his apartment in Houston.

"I need to go get some more clothes," he said.

There was a touch of sadness from Castillo when asked about his time with the Rays, who signed him out of a Dominican Republic tryout camp in 2014 and developed him into a dominating reliever.

"I was actually a little sad when I heard the news," he said. "I never thought that I'd actually get traded. It's sad just because this is the first team that gave me an opportunity."

But Castillo is trying to embrace his new situation.

"Now it's time to be here (with Seattle) and move on forward with the new team and the new opportunities I have with them," he said.

At some point, he'll return to the mound of Tropicana Field to face his former teammates. He has no preference on a player he'd like to strike out more than another, though he admitted Manuel Margot might make him laugh on the mound.

"Once I put on different uniform, the Seattle uniform, I can't go back and remind myself about them being my teammates," he said. "I have to go out there and just do my job."

Jake Fraley returns, Shed Long Jr. to the IL

The Mariners made a handful of roster moves Monday, giving them three full-time outfielders.

Outfielder Jake Fraley was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list and was in the starting lineup in left field. Manager Scott Servais wouldn't commit to a platoon situation with Dylan Moore, but it would certainly trend that way on most days.

"Nice to have Jake back," Servais said. "He really started to change how we were going about our at-bats as a club, just being so patient and realizing the value of controlling the strike zone. We've missed him since he's been gone. He did a really nice job defensively. As far as running Jake out there and playing him for six, seven days in a row, you're probably not going to see that now."

Fraley is expected to start the first two games of the series against the Rays right-handed starters while Moore will start in the series finale against left-hander Josh Fleming.

To make room on the active roster, utility player Shed Long Jr. was placed on the 10-day injured list with a stress reaction in his surgically repaired right shin.

"Shed came in a few days ago and said his leg wasn't feeling great," Servais said. "He thought he needed to maybe take a step back and kind of regroup with where he was at physically. I thought it was best to do that at this time."

The Mariners also claimed outfielder Marcus Wilson off waivers from the Red Sox and optioned him to Class AAA Tacoma. To make room for Wilson, outfielder Dillon Thomas, who was playing for Tacoma, was designated for assignment.

A second-round draft choice by the Diamondbacks in 2014 out of powerhouse Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, California, Wilson, 24,  had a .242/.370/.452 slash line with 10 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 30 RBI in 64 games for Class AAA Worcester.