Mariners bat­tered by rash of in­juries

Team re­mains hope­ful it can reach full health by mid-sea­son but the hits just keep com­ing

The Province - - SPORTS | BASEBALL - TIM BOOTH

Lad­ner’s James Pax­ton and Felix Her­nan­dez were ex­pected to lead Seattle’s pitch­ing ro­ta­tion, but both are cur­rently on the dis­abled list, along with a bunch of other Mariners. SEATTLE — In Robinson Cano, Felix Her­nan­dez and James Pax­ton, the Seattle Mariners might have more star power on the dis­abled list than on the ac­tive ros­ter.

Seattle has been slammed with in­juries through the first six weeks of the sea­son, leav­ing a club ex­pected to con­tend in the Amer­i­can League des­per­ately try­ing hang around .500 in the hope of get­ting close to full health near mid-sea­son.

Seattle has not played a game all sea­son with the start­ing lineup and ro­ta­tion it ex­pected when spring train­ing be­gan in Fe­bru­ary.

“I don’t know if there is any ra­tio­nal­iza­tion be­hind it. We’ve got­ten bit by the bug,” Seattle man­ager Scott Ser­vais said. “I’ve never gone through any­thing like this, ever.”

Seattle has made 69 trans­ac­tions on the 40-man ros­ter since the start of the sea­son. From May 9 through Wed­nes­day, the Mariners made 16 ros­ter moves, most of them to a de­pleted staff that used 24 pitch­ers in the first 40 games.

For gen­eral man­ager Jerry Dipoto, it’s been a daily chore try­ing to piece to­gether the ros­ter.

“It’s a chal­lenge for the play­ers,” Dipoto said.

It’s not so much the quan­tity of in­juries — al­though it’s be­com­ing a sig­nif­i­cant to­tal — but the qual­ity of the play­ers that have gone down.

Four of Seattle’s five pro­jected open­ing day ro­ta­tion mem­bers are on the DL, and only Pax­ton (fore­arm strain) has a chance of be­ing back around June 1. Her­nan­dez (shoul­der in­flam­ma­tion) likely won’t re­turn un­til mid-June, Drew Smyly (flexor strain) has yet to throw a reg­u­lar-sea­son pitch and Hisashi Iwakuma (shoul­der in­flam­ma­tion) could be out un­til July.

And so Seattle is be­ing led in the ro­ta­tion by Ariel Mi­randa and Yo­vani Gal­lardo. Chris­tian Bergman pitched the best 7 1/3 in­nings of his ca­reer in a win on Wed­nes­day, so maybe the Mariners have some­thing there. Thurs­day’s starter was Sam Gav­iglio, a 26-year-old rookie with a 4.38 ERA over three sea­sons at triple-A.

Shae Sim­mons was ex­pected to be a key part of the bullpen but hasn’t pitched in a reg­u­lar sea­son game. Re­liever Evan Mar­shall threw just a cou­ple of pitches in a re­cent out­ing be­fore in­jur­ing his ham­string and land­ing on the 60-day DL. Ryan We­ber was called up from the mi­nors last week­end, throw­ing 3 2/3 in­nings be­fore walk­ing off the field early with a rare nerve is­sue.

The lineup has only fared slightly bet­ter. Cano went on the 10-day DL this week with a quadri­ceps strain but should be back in a week. Emerg­ing out­fielder Mitch Haniger hurt an oblique and has been out since April 26, al­though he could also re­turn soon.

Per­haps the odd­est in­jury sit­u­a­tion was that of util­ity player Shawn O’Mal­ley who missed the end of spring train­ing with ap­pen­dici­tis. Once he re­cov­ered from surgery, O’Mal­ley started a throw­ing pro­gram and pro­ceeded to suf­fer a shoul­der in­jury.

It’s been that kind of year.

— GETTY IMAGES

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