SEATTLE -- Héctor Santiago will be informed on the decision of his appeal on Wednesday during the All-Star break, Mariners manager Scott Servais said ahead of Friday’s series opener against the Angels.
Santiago, who became the first player ejected for allegedly using a grip-enhancing agent on June 27, appealed a 10-game suspension and had his appeal heard yesterday in Seattle, which was overseen by MLB special adviser John McHale Jr. The process was conducted in conjunction with the MLB Players Association, MLB attorneys and Mariners officials among others. Santiago was also present for a multi-hour stretch but did not testify.
Santiago’s glove, which was confiscated after his ejection, was examined as part of the appeal.
“The glove did make it to the hearing,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “So that was a good sign. They had the evidence, and I'm sure they're looking at the tape and talking to a lot of other people and putting it all together. But hopefully, the suspension, whatever, will be reduced.”
With Santiago’s suspension at least on hold until next week, the left-hander will be available to contribute out of the bullpen this weekend against the Angels -- which could be critical on Sunday, when Seattle faces the quandary of what to do with Justus Sheffield’s rotation turn after he was placed on the IL on Wednesday. In an ideal spot, Santiago could give the Mariners one look through the Angels’ lineup over a few innings, then turn things over to a bullpen that could be emptied, given that the club is heading into the break.
Speaking of Sheffield, he’s dealing with a mild left forearm strain and Grade 2 oblique strain, and Servais said that “he's not going to pitch anytime in the near future."
"When he does get feeling healthy again, it'll take him a little while to get back up. So, no timetable," said Servais.
Remembering recruiting Ohtani
With Shohei Ohtani emerging as a generational talent -- leading the Majors with 32 homers and flashing 101 mph on the radar gun as an All-Star pitcher -- there has been a sense of “what if” among clubs that fell short of signing him in the 2017-18 offseason.
And the Mariners felt like they had as good of a chance as any team.
“I thought we did, organizationally, everybody involved -- from what Jerry Dipoto did to our ownership group to our marketing department, everybody involved -- to try to put our best foot forward and presenting what's the city of Seattle and what the Mariners are all about,” Servais said. “And certainly, with the success we've had with a number of Japanese players that have played here, I thought we were positioned as well as we could be.”
Because Ohtani was made available to MLB clubs via the Japanese posting system, and because he was slated to earn no more than $3.557 million as part of international signing rules, just about every club was in play to sign him. But the Mariners seemed like such a strong fit given their rich history of success with Japanese players and their willingness to let Ohtani largely dictate his hitting and pitching program.
“Going through that whole process, you learn a lot about the player, the person you're recruiting,” Servais said. “You also learn a lot about the people you're recruiting with. And I can honestly say I've never felt better about the Mariners and where we were at and how we presented ourselves. We could not have done a better job. And I really thought he was headed our way.
“But that's why you recruit. You never really know what's going to happen. You don't know what that other person is thinking or what they're looking for. And it didn't work out. No hard feelings. Like I said earlier, we’ve just got to figure out how to beat him, how to get him out, win ballgames, and keep moving forward.”