PEORIA, Ariz. -- Hard-throwing rookie right-hander Gerson Bautista, one of the numerous bright spots among the new group of Mariners prospects this spring, grabbed his right arm and chest area after throwing a pitch during the seventh inning in Seattle’s 9-9 split-squad tie with the Angels in Tempe on Sunday, and was removed mid-inning.
Bautista walked off the mound with an athletic trainer after appearing to clutch his pectoral muscle following a 2-2 delivery to Matt Thaiss, the third batter he’d faced. Bautista entered in the seventh inning and walked Kole Calhoun and retired Mike Trout on a line drive before his injury.
“I know he came out of the game against the Angels, but I don’t have a report on why,” said Mariners manager Scott Servais, who was in Peoria with the other half of the club in a 16-2 loss to the Indians.
“He’s a guy we really like and are excited about his upside and future. I don’t want to rush to any judgments. We’ll wait and see what the trainers have when I get inside.”
Any setback at all to Bautista could change the Mariners’ bullpen plans as they prepare for Thursday’s departure to Japan, where they’ll face the A's in a two-game Opening Series on March 20-21.
Bautista has posted a 2.08 ERA in 4 1/3 innings over five Cactus League outings and opened eyes with his upper-90s fastball and nasty slider combination.
The slender 23-year-old is one of five players acquired from the Mets in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal in December. He’s ranked as Seattle’s No. 27 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and appeared to be in serious contention for a bullpen berth on a team that is rebuilding its relief crew after the series of offseason trades by general manager Jerry Dipoto.