SEATTLE -- Nobody knows when Major League Baseball might resume, but in some good news out of the Mariners, general manager Jerry Dipoto said on Saturday that injured reliever Austin Adams is progressing well in his rehab from knee surgery and has a chance to be ready to go whenever
SEATTLE -- Nobody knows when Major League Baseball might resume, but in some good news out of the Mariners, general manager Jerry Dipoto said on Saturday that injured reliever Austin Adams is progressing well in his rehab from knee surgery and has a chance to be ready to go whenever games do get played.
Adams was one of the Mariners’ most pleasant surprises last year, developing into a significant late-inning relief option before tearing ligaments in his left knee on a play at first base on Sept. 21 in Baltimore.
After undergoing reconstruction surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament in October, Adams stayed as long as possible this spring at the Mariners’ facility in Peoria, Ariz., working with the training staff, before things were shut down last month.
But while most players are in a holding pattern during the COVID-19 shutdown since there are no baseball workouts, the 28-year-old right-hander is able to push forward with his rehab process in the hope of not missing any time. He’s now recovered to a point where he’s throwing and running at his home in Florida.
“He might have been the last guy out in Arizona,” Dipoto said. “He jokingly said, ‘I‘ll be ready for Opening Day.’ And my guess is at the rate he’s going, that is probably true. His rehab hasn’t been affected in a negative way at all. Quite the opposite. He seems to be doing terrific.”
Adams put together a brief video clip of one of the many leg-strengthening exercises he does on his own as he works his way back.
“He is moving quickly in his rehab,” Dipoto said. “Like most things he does, he’s been very aggressive. He’s already throwing, and the last update was he’s running at 100 percent in 30-yard increments. His stop-and-start is where it needs to be.”
After being acquired from the Nationals last May in a trade for Minor League pitcher Nick Wells, Adams blossomed quickly as a rookie reliever. In 27 appearances for the Mariners, he posted a 3.07 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 12 walks in 29 1/3 innings.
Despite missing about a month midseason with a strained right shoulder, he wound up third among all American League relievers who faced at least 100 batters on the season in strikeouts per nine innings at 15.03.
“He’s sneaky, really good,” Dipoto said. “If we can continue to tap into what he was doing once we acquired him ... Until he went down, his performance was phenomenal.”
Haniger also on the mend
The other Mariner recovering from injury during the layoff is right fielder Mitch Haniger, who is continuing to progress from his offseason surgeries to repair a torn adductor muscle in his groin and a herniated disc in his back.
Dipoto said Haniger, also one of the last players to leave Arizona, is maintaining his rehab program on his own at home in California while still limited primarily to walking and doing some exercises for his lower back and groin.
“Our expectation was that Mitch was going to take the time to rehab this and do it properly. We really had no timeline on it to begin with,” Dipoto said. “We’re just taking it like we did before, day by day, and checking in with him to make sure he’s feeling comfortable.”
For Haniger, getting into baseball shape isn’t a concern at this point.
“The speed with which he rehabs is not important, and in this case it probably never was,” Dipoto said. “It was just a matter of making sure we identified the issues that existed. We hopefully solved the problem, now we just have to wait for the appropriate physical buildup.
“I don’t know how long that’s going to take. I’m sure that with this situation we’re in now, with less access to facilities with rehab professionals, I can’t imagine it speeds up his situation. But we weren’t looking to speed up his situation. We preferred to take it slowly, frankly."