When Marco Gonzales walked off the mound Tuesday night, following his fourth solid inning of pitching, the Mariners’ rotation finally seemed whole.
With Gonzales’ return from a month-long stay on the injured list, Seattle finally had six healthy starting pitchers for its six-man rotation.
No more bullpen starts. No more piecing together a schedule, hoping for off days and breaks.
That feeling lasted for about 20 hours.
An hour before the first pitch of the homestand finale Wednesday vs. the A’s, the Mariners announced that right-hander Justin Dunn had been placed on the 10-day injured list because of right-shoulder inflammation. Right-hander Robert Dugger was recalled from Class AAA Tacoma to take Dunn’s place on the roster, and possibly in the rotation as a spot starter.
The news about Dunn came out after Mariners manager Scott Servais had met with the media pregame. There was no indication that Dunn was dealing with shoulder issues based on his last start or from anything Servais said in the past few days.
Dunn was interviewed on the Mariners’ television broadcast and said his shoulder just didn’t bounce back as expected from his previous outing. He hoped it would be only a few days before it started to feel normal again.
Dunn’s last outing came May 29 in Seattle’s 3-2 win over the Rangers at T-Mobile Park. He tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run on two hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. He took a took no-decision in the outing, throwing 98 pitches.
He was scheduled to start Friday night in Anaheim vs. the Angels.
In nine starts this season, he has a 1-2 record with a 3.18 ERA. He has allowed two runs or fewer in his past five starts and in seven of his nine starts this season. In 45 1/3 innings, he has struck out 45 and walked 27. Opponents are hitting just .168 against Dunn, which is the best among American League starting pitchers.
Dunn joins lefties James Paxton (Tommy John surgery) and Nick Margevicius (thoracic outlet syndrome) and right-handers Casey Sadler (shoulder impingement), Ljay Newsome (elbow strain), Erik Swanson (groin strain) as pitchers who have appeared in games this season on the injured list. Right-handers Kendall Graveman and Drew Steckenrider are on the COVID-19 injured list.
Dugger was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma after Monday’s game to make room for Gonzales on the roster. He returns and seems like a possible candidate to make Dunn’s start, though he will pitch only two to three innings.
The Mariners have a total of 14 players from their 40-man roster on the injured list.
More injury updates
Outfielder Kyle Lewis, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a torn right meniscus in his knee, will visit another doctor for a second opinion on the injury and a course of action.
“Kyle is really down, and he’s disappointed,” Servais said. “He was playing so well, and like any player having to deal with that kind of issue, and just as he was getting it going, it becomes very frustrating.”
If Lewis does need surgery, it would be his third procedure on his knee since being selected in the first round of the 2016 draft by the Mariners. He suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and tears to his anterior and medial meniscus on a play at home plate in his first season.
He also had a second surgery to clean up the knee and some issues around his patella. After healthy and full seasons in 2019 and 2020, he missed the first 17 games of this season because of a bone bruise to the knee.
“There’s always levels of concern when guys have knee issues or shoulder issues,” Servais said. “He’s battled back from a pretty serious injury right when he got his professional career started — a credit to him. And I think he’s figured out a routine that works for him, and something else pops up. Some things you just can’t control. It’s crazy to worry about them or fret over them. You just have to keep moving forward.”
Dylan Moore (left calf strain) is progressing toward a rehab stint with Class AAA Tacoma in the coming days. He has been a full participant in workouts, but has yet to test the calf running.
Evan White (right hip flexor strain) isn’t quite as close to a rehab assignment. He has been out on the field taking ground balls and taking batting practice, but hasn’t been able to do running or exercises that require explosive movements.
Kelenic gets a day off
With the A’s starting Sean Manaea in Wednesday’s series finale, Servais decided to give rookie Jarred Kelenic a day off from the lineup instead of having him face the ultra-tough lefty. Of the 62 left-handed batters to face Manaea this season, he has struck out 24 of them, allowing nine hits.
Kelenic is in an 0-for-27 slump and was visibly frustrated after striking out three times in Tuesday’s loss.
“I think he needs a day off,” Servais said.
Julio Rodriguez, the Mariners’ top outfield prospect, hit a pair of homers and drove in three runs to lead the Dominican Republic to a 13-3 win over Nicaragua on Wednesday. With the win, the Dominican Republic earned a berth in the super round of the Americas Olympic qualifying tournament. Fellow Mariners farmhand Luis Liberato also homered for the DR.