The Mariners’ starting rotation has taken another hit.
Ace Marco Gonzales is headed to the 10-day injured list with a left forearm strain and will miss his next couple starts, manager Scott Servais announced Thursday.
Domingo Tapia, who was included in Seattle’s taxi squad for its current road trip, was recalled from the alternate training site.
“It’s unfortunate,” Servais said. “Marco’s our guy. He’s consistent and we love having him out there. We want to be smart here and not let this grow into anything bigger.”
Gonzales, who felt the injury in the final inning of his last start, is the third Seattle starting pitcher to suffer an injury in April alone.
James Paxton suffered a left forearm strain in his season debut on April 6, and will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery last week. Fellow southpaw Nick Margevicius was diagnosed with left shoulder inflammation after recording just one out in his last start on Sunday against the Red Sox, and will receive additional tests when the team returns to Seattle. Needless to say, the Mariners now find themselves in an early bind.
“That presents challenges,” Servais said. “There’s no question about it. You lean on starting pitching so heavily in this league.”
Seattle has already dipped into its bullpen for starting rotation help. Ljay Newsome, who began the season as Seattle’s long reliever, will take Margevicius’ spot and start on Saturday against the Angels. With Gonzales on the shelf too, Servais will have to find another outlet to eat up innings.
The most likely option to take Gonzales’ place in the starting rotation for the time being is Robert Dugger, who has experience starting at the Major League level, albeit to poor results. In eight career starts, all of which came with the Marlins, Dugger has a 6.21 ERA across 37 2/3 innings.
After a rough start to the season, Gonzales began returning to last season’s form. In his last three starts, Gonzalez allowed five earned runs across 18 innings, striking out 15 batters to six walks.
Haniger out again
Outfielder Mitch Haniger will miss a second consecutive game, Servais announced Thursday.
Haniger does not have a specific injury, but is not feeling 100% overall and Servais is erring on the side of caution.
“Mitch is feeling better today,” Servais said. “Again, this is my call. If it was up to Mitch, he would want to be in there. I’m not doing that quick turnaround after last night. I will say, if we were playing in the playoffs today, he would be in the lineup.”
Haniger was originally in Wednesday’s lineup, but was scratched an hour before the game. Servais said Haniger wasn’t feeling 100% and that he made the decision to take Haniger out of the lineup.
“We have a lot of games ahead of us,” Servais said. “This is a guy coming off a major injury, missing so much time. I said from the outset of the season that we were going to be very cautious with this, and when he needed days or a couple days off, we were going to give it to him.”
Along with Haniger, Kyle Lewis was absent from Thursday’s lineup as well -- for a similar reason. Lewis’ omission is not due to an injury, but rather Seattle’s desire to ease him into a full season’s workload.
Servais said Lewis will likely get more consistent playing time once the team returns home. The skipper envisioned Lewis playing three or four consecutive days in center field, then spending a game as the team's designated hitter.
“We do want to be very cautious, and we knew that going into this road trip -- that we’re going to be cautious with his build up,” Servais said.