SEATTLE -- The Mariners’ bullpen went through some more shuffling on Wednesday morning when right-hander Keynan Middleton was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strain in his right biceps. Righty Wyatt Mills was recalled from the alternate training site to take his spot.
Middleton exited after throwing just four pitches in Tuesday’s 5-2 win, following visible discomfort while warming up. Mariners manager Scott Servais doesn’t envision that Middleton will need more than the 10 days.
“Preliminary, yes,” Servais said. “It would be maybe even less than that, but that's the minimum now that we put them on the IL. If we had a fully stacked rested bullpen, he might not even have been [placed on the] IL. I'm not sure. But that's not the world we live in today. We needed some guys that we could run out there.”
Such is the state of Seattle’s pitching staff, which is feeling the ripple effects of injuries to starting pitchers Marco Gonzales and Nick Margevicius, who are both on the IL. Their absences forced the Mariners to rely on their bullpen for a combined 16 innings in each of their last turns through the rotation, on Saturday and Monday -- both losses.
The positive news is that it appears Gonzales is trending in the right direction with his left forearm strain. He’s been playing catch all week and has reported no issues, but given the sensitivity of that particular injury, his injury history in his elbow and how much the Mariners will rely on him for innings the rest of the way, they will continue to slow-play his rehab.
The Mariners have not yet mapped out what they will do with Gonzales' rotation spot the next turn through, though they will have off-days on Thursday and Monday to strategize.
Margevicius still has some unknown elements with his issue and underwent more tests to find the issue causing his left shoulder inflammation on Tuesday.
“He's concerned. You just want to know what the root of the problem is,” Servais said. “I know he's anxious to get to the root of the problem here and start to get ready, ramped up and get back going again, but not exactly sure what that plan is going to be yet.”
Either way, until the Mariners have more clarity on the health of their starting rotation, the bullpen, which has emerged as one of the American League’s best, will continue to be leaned on heavily into May. But with the Minor League season beginning this week, they will at least have a pool to dip into that includes players seeing live competition.
Mariners announce more community impact grants
The Mariners Care Foundation announced on Tuesday that it has awarded three new community impact grants to organizations focused on systemic change leading to positive physical and mental health improvements to youth. These efforts also aim to accelerate outcomes for BIPOC communities.
Here are details for the new grants:
• $20,000 for You Grow Girl!, a Seattle-based program that provides mental and behavioral health services to female-identifying youth and families from BIPOC communities.
• $20,000 for King County Play Equity Coalition, a network of more than 100 organizations from across King County that work collaboratively to address the lack of access and resources for all youth, especially those from under-resourced communities, to participate in sport, play and physical activity.
• $25,000 for Minority Business Executive Program, University of Washington Foster School of Business, which supports capacity building and access to capital for minority-owned business.
The $1 million Seattle Mariners Community Impact Grant program was announced last July as part of a broad set of commitments to social justice and racial equity.