The Mariners have added yet another reliever to the bullpen in hopes of finding an arm that can contribute a little bit of stability or production to a unit that has struggled this season.
Right-hander Brady Lail, who was claimed off waivers from the White Sox earlier this week, cleared COVID-19 intake testing protocols in Houston and was added to the active roster.
To make room for Lail, left-hander Taylor Guilbeau was optioned back to the alternate training site in Tacoma, but will remain with the Mariners for the remainder of this road trip as a member of the taxi squad.
The Mariners also swapped out catchers, recalling Joe Odom, who is with the team as a member of the taxi squad, and sending back-up catcher Joe Hudson to the alternate training site. As Guilbeau, Hudson will remain with the team on the taxi squad.
Also veteran infielder Patrick Wisdom, who was designated for assignment when Lail was claimed, has been placed on unconditional release waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release.
Lail, 27, has two MLB appearances – one of two innings in 2018 with the Yankees and another with the White Sox on Aug. 6 of this season that was also two innings. He’s allowed a total of three runs on four hits with three strikeouts in those four innings. Lail is a command reliever with a fastball that averages 89 to 92 mph with a slightly above average spin rate, a slider, curveball and changeup. He primarily was a starter in his eight minor-league seasons, most spent with the Yankees.
“He’s more of a multi-inning reliever,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said during a pregame video call. “He’s a guy that can go out and throw two to three innings for you in a ballgame. He’s got four pitches and can work through a lineup. So that’s how he fits for us as a guy that has a little more length.”
And why the swap out of the Joes at catcher?
“That’s a situation where we like Hudson and Odom a lot,” Servais said. “Certainly those guys are defensive catchers. Joe Odom has done a great job and has history working with our young guys at the minor-league level. I think Huddy has done a fine job, it’s just an opportunity where we will flip that position. It could be back and forth a couple times and try to get the best out of both those guys.”
Odom caught Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn multiple times last season for Class AA Arkansas and also caught them in their first starts of the season in Anaheim.
Guilbeau figures to bounce back and forth this season, given usage and versatility.
Wisdom, 28, did not appear in a game for the Mariners after signing as a free agent this offseason. He was a depth signing that had been expected to play for Tacoma under normal circumstances. He’d been in the 60-man player pool, training at the alternate site. The Mariners needed an open spot in their player pool for Lail and right-hander Seth Frankoff, who recently signed and joined the alternate training site.
- Reliever Yoshihisa Hirano has left Arizona, where he’s been since baseball’s shutdown in mid-March, and joined the group of players at the alternate training site. Hirano tested positive for COVID-19 in late June just before summer camp. He recently passed intake protocols and is inching closer to a return. He will throw a 20-pitch live batting practice session Saturday and then follow that up with an appearance in an intrasquad game.
- Kendall Graveman is considering eschewing surgery and trying to rehab his ailing neck. The veteran right-hander was placed on the 10-day injured list with neck spasms after his second start of the season. Graveman visited multiple specialists looking for surgical option that might give him some relief from the neck issues he’s been dealing with for the past few years. If he stays with the non-surgical route, Graveman hopes to return to make a handful of starts this season.
- Relievers Austin Adams (knee surgery) and Brandon Brennan (oblique strain) are continuing their rehab at the team’s spring training complex in Peoria, Ariz. Both pitchers are on the 45-day injured list. Brennan seems unlikely to return this season while Adams suffered a setback in his recovery during summer camp.
- Catcher Tom Murphy still hasn’t progressed enough in his recovery from a fracture in his left foot to begin playing in rehab games in Tacoma, though Servais did say Murphy is feeling much better.
Editor’s note: The Times declined to send reporter Ryan Divish to Houston for this game because of COVID-19 safety concerns.