Mariners battered by rash of injuries
Team remains hopeful it can reach full health by mid-season but the hits just keep coming
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.