Injuries & Moves: Hancock recalled, will start finale vs. White Sox

June 13th, 2024

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June 13: RHP recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, to start Thursday vs. White Sox
To account for Bryan Woo's disrupted routine and overall workload -- and the rest of the rotation's, for that matter -- the Mariners had Hancock join them in Seattle from Triple-A Tacoma on the taxi squad on Wednesday, with the possibility of handing him a big league start in the coming days.

That indeed came to fruition one day later, as the club announced that it recalled Hancock from Tacoma to start Thursday's four-game series finale against Chicago. If the Mariners remain on turn with the rest of their rotation, Luis Castillo, George Kirby and Logan Gilbert would take the mound, in order, for a big weekend series against Texas.

"We have played so many games without a day off," Mariners manager Scott Servais said Wednesday. "And I think our starting rotation leads all of baseball in innings pitched. We're right at the top. We've leaned on these guys heavily. Any time you can get them an extra day, it's something that we're thinking about doing, and that's why Emerson's here.”

Hancock made seven starts for Seattle earlier this season as Woo's fill-in when Woo began the season on the IL. In those outings, Hancock posted a 5.24 ERA with 23 strikeouts, 11 walks and a .766 OPS against in 34 1/3 innings. And in five outings with Tacoma since, he has a 2.17 ERA with 26 strikeouts, 10 walks and a .545 OPS against.

June 13: UTL activated from paternity list; INF Leo Rivas optioned to Triple-A Tacoma (retroactive to June 12); RHP optioned to Tacoma (retroactive to June 12)
Beyond Hancock joining the big league team, Moore returned after he and his wife welcomed the birth of their third child. Rivas had been Moore's fill-in for the three games he was gone. And de Geus was a bullpen reinforcement for Wednesday's game and wound up not being used.

June 12: RHP (lower back strain) nearing return
Seattle's closer received an injection on Tuesday to alleviate the pain he'd been experiencing in his lower back, which has limited him to just one appearance since being pulled from a June 4 game at Oakland. Muñoz also underwent an MRI and bone scan, and "structurally, he looks great," Mariners general manager Justin Hollander said.

"We just have to find a way to get through the soreness part, which is what the injection should handle," Hollander said.

Muñoz likely won't be available until this weekend, both Hollander and Mariners manager Scott Servais said on Wednesday. But he appears to be trending in the right direction.

June 12: RHP receives positive news from MRI on right forearm
One day after he was scratched from his scheduled start against the White Sox due to a right forearm issue, Woo's MRI on the issue "was perfectly clean," Mariners general manager Justin Hollander said on Wednesday.

The electric right-hander could be reinserted into the rotation as soon as next week, Hollander said, but the Mariners haven't yet determined when.

"Somewhat depends on how he feels," Hollander said. "But the MRI was great and we're really, really happy with how everything looked. So that's a positive." Read more »

10-DAY/15-DAY INJURED LIST

1B (right heel fracture)
Expected return: June 18 or shortly after
France is soon slated to ramp up baseball activities, said Mariners general manager Justin Hollander, who met with reporters on June 12. The club is optimistic that the first baseman could be ready to be activated when he's eligible on June 18 or shortly after. France was hit by a pitch in the first inning on June 7, but stayed in the game and reached base on four of his five plate appearances, including two doubles. However, the soreness limited him in pregame drills one day later, which led to a deeper look that revealed the injury's severity. (Last updated: June 12)

2B (right hamstring strain)
Expected return: Mid-June
Polanco was slated to run the bases during the Mariners' home series against the White Sox on either June 12 or 13, representing his final hurdle before a Minor League rehab assignment. After that, Mariners general manager Justin Hollander indicated that the club would collaborate with Polanco to assess his condition and determine how long that rehab would last.

"He's been down for a while ... so, I don't know how long that rehab assignment will be," Hollander said. "But he'll go on some sort of rehab assignment."

Polanco initially suffered when scoring from second base in a May 13 game against the Royals. He avoided the IL at the time but missed seven games. Then, after returning for five games, he reaggravated it and was placed on the IL. In the meantime, the Mariners have had second base covered between Josh Rojas, Ryan Bliss and Dylan Moore. (Last updated: June 12)

LHP (left rotator cuff strain)
Expected return: All-Star break
Speier said in passing that, he's no longer experiencing discomfort and is on track to begin playing catch soon. His injury crept up after his most recent outing on May 29 against Houston, but he said there was no specific moment. Rather, he awoke the next morning feeling a persistent pain, which prompted him to alert manager Scott Servais and Seattle's athletic trainers. That then led to an MRI that revealed the issue. This is the first time he's been on the injured list for an arm-related issue since breaking into the Majors in 2019. (Last updated: June 12)

SS (foot fracture; No. 3 on Mariners Top 30 Prospect list)
Expected return:
Early July
Emerson was placed on the 7-day Minor League injured list on May 21 after fouling a ball off his foot and fracturing it May 16 in a game with Single-A Modesto. The initial plan was for the Mariners' 2023 first-round Draft pick to be in a boot for two weeks, and on May 27, Mariners general manager Justin Hollander said Emerson was still on track. (Last updated: May 27)

60-DAY INJURED LIST

RHP (right lat strain)
Expected return: Early July
Santos began throwing bullpen sessions in early June, building volume to prepare himself to face live hitters, Mariners general manager Justin Hollander said, and in between sessions he's been throwing out to 105 feet. There's no official timetable on his return, but the club is optimistic that he could return in early July. Santos initially experienced shoulder soreness at the start of Spring Training and was set back by a lat strain during a bullpen session while ramping back up. He experienced another setback in early May that prolonged his recovery into the July range. (Last updated: June 12)

RHP (right elbow inflammation)
Expected return:
June 2025
Brash is out of the protective brace that he'd been wearing since undergoing Tommy John surgery on May 8 and remains in Arizona recovering. He may join the Mariners in and out in Seattle throughout the remainder of the season. Brash's surgery ended his 2024 season, three months after initially experiencing soreness during his second bullpen session in Spring Training. Brash had the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow repaired and a brace installed, which has typically allowed patients to begin physical therapy sooner. That's why the Mariners are hopeful Brash can return in 12 months, potentially as soon as June 2025. (Last updated: June 12)

OF/UTL (torn right Achilles)
Expected return: May 2025
Haggerty tore his right Achilles on May 18, in his second game after getting optioned back to Triple-A Tacoma, and he underwent surgery with Dr. Albert O. Gee at the University of Washington the following week. He then departed for Arizona shortly after to transition his recovery there. Before leaving Seattle, Haggerty mentioned in passing that his timeline would be around 12 months if all goes well with his subsequent rehab. (Last updated: June 12)

RHP (right UCL surgery)
Expected return: 2025
Kowar was transferred to the 60-day IL shortly after receiving word that he'll need to undergo Tommy John surgery, which ended his season before it even began. The former first-round Draft pick was among the leading candidates to win a bullpen spot before suffering the injury in his second Cactus League outing. (Last updated: March 10)