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Mariners’ top two picks in June draft nearing return from injuries

Sam Carlson, left, the Burnsville, Minn.. right-handed high school pitcher drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the baseball draft, talks with Mariners manager Scott Servais during batting practice before a game between the Minnesota Twins and the Mariners on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)
Sam Carlson, left, the Burnsville, Minn.. right-handed high school pitcher drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the baseball draft, talks with Mariners manager Scott Servais during batting practice before a game between the Minnesota Twins and the Mariners on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)
By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

The Seattle Mariners’ top two picks in the June draft, off the radar since mid-July because of injuries, are each nearing a return.

First baseman Evan White, the 17th overall selection, is expected to resume playing before the minor-league seasons conclude in early September. He batted .277 in 14 games at Short-A Everett prior to suffering a strained quadriceps muscle.

Right-handed pitcher Sam Carlson, a second-round pick the Mariners lured away from the University of Florida with an over-slot signing bonus, made just two appearances in the Arizona Rookie League before suffering a strained elbow.

“Sam has a very minor flexor strain in his right arm,” farm director Andy McKay said. “He is throwing again,” farm director Andy McKay said. “He feels great and will be participating in all of our off-season programs.

“He should be fully cleared by Sept. 1.”

Scrutiny on White, 21, and Carlson, 18, intensified after the Mariners thinned their farm system through a series of trades in late July and early August.

MLBPipeline.com currently rates White and Carlson as the organization’s No. 3 and No. 5 prospects.

“It’s likely that Evan sees game action before the minor-league season draws to a close,” general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed. “We are more likely to limit Sam to bullpen work with an eye toward returning to game action in spring training.

“Both players will take part in our postseason minor-league camps.”

Neidert Honored

Right-hander Nick Neidert, the organization’s No. 2 prospect in the MLBPipeline.com ratings, was picked this week as the California League pitcher of the year after going 10-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts at Hi-A Modesto.

Neidert, 20, was promoted July 19 to Double-A Arkansas, where he is 1-3 with a 6.56 ERA in six starts.

Modesto’s Mitch Canham was picked as the California League manager of the year after leading the Nuts to the first-half pennant in the Northern Division. Outfielder Eric Filia was also picked to the Cal League’s postseason all-star team.

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