The Mariners returned to a seven-man bullpen on Tuesday, activating reliever Tony Zych from the 60-day disabled list.
The Mariners returned to a seven-man bullpen before Tuesday’s game vs. the Yankees, activating reliever Tony Zych from the 60-day disabled list. He fills the open spot on the Mariners’ 40-man roster. To make room for Zych on the active 25-man roster, outfielder/first baseman Stefen Romero was optioned back to Tacoma.
“We needed to get back to a full bullpen,” manager Scott Servais said. “Tony has been throwing the ball really well. I don’t think you’ll see him go three days in a row. But he’s had multiple outings on his rehab. He feels good and the reports have been good.”
Zych has looked strong in four rehab appearances throughout the Mariners’ minor league system, not allowing a run in four innings pitched. His fastball has been clocked as high as 98 mph. He’s been on the disabled list since May 3 with tendinitis in his rotator cuff. He was moved to the 60-day DL on June 24. Zych made 10 relief appearances to start the season, posting a 3.00 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.
“It’s good,” he said. “I’ve weathered through it. It’s better now. Everything is good. The velocity has been good. I’m ready to go out there and see what happens.”
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The shoulder issues limited his ability to bounce back after outings and wouldn’t allow him to pitch on back-to-back days early in the season. Zych fills the spot in the bullpen vacated by right-hander Drew Storen, who was placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation on Monday.
“It took a lot longer than I thought,” Zych said of his recovery. “It was weird. I don’t really know how to explain it. It was just uncomfortable for a while. I was finally able to push through it (in Arizona).”
The mental grind of being sent to Arizona after the setback in his recovery was something that Zych wasn’t prepared for.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in this game – not be here, not be with the team and figure out how to stay positive through the negative in myself and what was going on with my shoulder,” he said. “It was tough. It was really tough. I had to back off and not push too hard.”
Romero’s second stint with the Mariners was brief after being recalled on Friday. He’ll likely be back with the team when rosters expand on Sept. 1. He has four hits in 17 at-bats with Seattle this season.
“I didn’t necessarily see this coming when we brought him here,” Servais said of the Romero move. “But with where our bullpen has been and the overuse of those guys, we thought we needed a fresh arm.”
The Mariners no longer have a strict platoon at first base, meaning Adam Lind may have to face some left-handed pitching. Seattle could also play utility player Shawn O’Malley at first base if needed. Lind has 37 plate appearances against lefties this season and his hitting .257 with a .670 OPS, a homer and four RBI. For his career, Lind is a .215 hitter with a .589 OPS vs. left-handed pitching.
“It will be a challenge,” Servais admitted. “We are looking at some lefties coming up in Chicago and Texas. He’ll get the majority of the time. O’Malley is the ultimate utility guy. You just may see him over there sometimes. There’s a few different options there, but not a lot based on our outfield situation and all the outfielders we are carrying.”
O’Malley has never played first in a regulation professional game, but did see a few innings during spring training. He was working pregame at first base on groundballs and shorthops around the bag.
Lind’s career splits
Batter vs. starting pitcher matchups
American League West and Wild Card Standings
On this day in Mariners’ history
- 1982 – The Mariners’ Gaylord Perry was ejected in the 7th inning for throwing a ball with a foreign substance. It was the first time in Perry’s 20-year career he was thrown out of a game for doctoring a ball.
- 1997 – Seattle hits the 200 home run mark on the season with a Roberto Kelly home run.
- 1999 – Joining Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire, Mariner outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. becomes the third player in major league history to hit 200 homers in a four-season span. Junior’s 39th helps Seattle beat the Indians, 4-1.
- 2011 – Mariners split a doubleheader at the Cleveland Indians, losing the first game 7-5 on a walk-off home run by Shin Soo-Choo. Rally to win nightcap 12-7 behind 4-hit game from rookie Trayvon Robinson. Robinson and Kyle Seager each recorded 6 hits in the doubleheader.
- 2015 – The Mariners held on for an 8-6 win over the White Sox…Robinson Canó hit his 14th home run of the season, tying his total from last year…Nelson Cruz extended his on-base streak to 33 games dating back to July 18, the 3rd-longest streak in the Majors this season…Logan Kensing made his Mariners debut, appearing in a Major League game for the first time since June 19, 2013.