Iwakuma joins Felix Hernandez, Drew Smyly and James Paxton on the disabled list. Right-hander Sam Gaviglio was brought up from Class AAA Tacoma.
PHILADELPHIA — And then there was one.
The injury carnage of the Mariners’ starting rotation continued on Wednesday morning with the announcement that right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
He becomes the fourth starting pitcher of the Mariners’ projected opening day rotation to go on the disabled list, joining Drew Smyly (flexor strain), Felix Hernandez (shoulder bursitis) and James Paxton (forearm strain). Iwakuma will return to Seattle to have a MRI on the shoulder to assess the seriousness of the injury.
It leaves only Yovani Gallardo, who was scheduled to start on Wednesday afternoon, from the rotation that general manager Jerry Dipoto assembled and manager Scott Servais planned to have this 2017 season. Four starting pitchers in the rotation on the DL at once? It isn’t typical.
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“I’ve said it many times early this year and I’ll say it again, ‘They keep playing the games and we have to play our schedule and keep going,'” Servais said. “Our team as we’ve proven over and over — we are very resilient. Guys like each other. They play very hard. They keep grinding. Some nights we come up a little short. Lately, our bullpen has been really, really good to keep us right there in games allowing our offense to get the big rally and get something going. Everybody has to do their part and step up.”
Iwakuma is 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA with 16 strikeouts and 12 walks in six starts and 31 1/3 innings pitched this season. The DL stint is retroactive to May 7.
Iwakuma was replaced on the roster by right-hander Sam Gaviglio, who had his minor league contract selected from Class AAA Tacoma. To make room for Gavgilio on the 40-man roster, right-hander Evan Marshall, who suffered a severely strained hamstring, was placed on the 60-day disabled list. The move with Marshall was expected since he’s expected to be out at least two months if not longer.
Gaviglio, 26, was 2-3 with a 3.31 ERA in five starts with the Rainiers this season. In 32 2/3 innings pitched, he’s struck out 16 batters with three walks. He’s not overpowering, but throws strikes. The Mariners will use him as a long reliever out of the bullpen. Gaviglio, a former Oregon State standout, pitched for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic.
“It’s a dream come true,” Gaviglio said. “I’ve been waiting for this to come for a while now. I just tried to take some momentum from the WBC and hit the ground running.”
Iwakuma had been scheduled to start on Thursday in Toronto in the series opener against the Blue Jays. Instead, right-hander Chase De Jong has been moved up a day and will make that start on normal rest. Right-hander Christian Bergman, who pitched well in relief on Sunday, will start on Friday. Saturday’s starter is “to be determined.” The Mariners could use Dillon Overton in that spot if he doesn’t pitch over the next few days. They could also go down to Tacoma and call up right-handers Chris Heston or Ryan Weber, who have big league experience.
“We aren’t sure what we are going to do there,” Servais said.
The discomfort in Iwakuma’s shoulder has been building.
“It’s been in the last couple of starts,” Iwakuma said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “It’s just when I pitch off the mound, I feel discomfort and irritation.”
Besides the shoulder issue, Iwakuma was struck in the knee by a line drive in his previous outing. The knee had swelled up and also was an issue.
“Getting hit in the knee plays a big factor, you don’t want to let that aggravate your shoulder. You don’t want to let that affect your shoulder. you don’t want it to mess up your mechanics and delivery. Sometimes when you do stuff that, it can affect other parts of your body.”
Iwakuma came to Servais and informed him that the shoulder wasn’t responding.
“He just didn’t feel like he was ready to post yet,” Servais said. “He’s a pro. He’s a veteran. You have to trust in those guys that they let you know when they are ready. We sat down yesterday and he didn’t think he was going to be able to go in Toronto. Obviously with where we are at pitching-wise, we needed to somebody in here.”
Robinson Cano hit in the cage and ran on the field to test his sore right quad. He was deemed healthy enough to play by the Mariners training staff. Nelson Cruz will operate in a similar role as a pinch hitter.