ARLINGTON, Texas — If you were playing Mariners transaction bingo, you might have a winner in one day on Tuesday.
The seemingly never-ending roster churn continued with the Mariners making an expected move for a starting pitcher, placing two players on the injured list and taking another off it, recalling one player, acquiring a reliever, optioning a player to Class AAA Tacoma and designating another for assignment to clear a 40-man roster spot.
After announcing Monday that veteran left-hander Tommy Milone would make the start Tuesday in place of the injured Felix Hernandez, the Mariners officially selected Milone’s minor-league contract and added him to the 40-man and active roster.
To make room for Milone, right-handed reliever Parker Markel was optioned back to Tacoma.
But then came the somewhat unexpected moves.
Seattle placed third baseman/first baseman Ryon Healy on the injured list with lower-back inflammation. Healy exited the game Monday with lower back discomfort after hitting a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. The team also placed second baseman Dee Gordon on the IL with a right wrist contusion. This injury dates to when Gordon was hit by a J.A. Happ pitch in New York on May 9. Gordon avoided the IL at the time with a few days off, but it’s clear the wrist has been bothering him since then. He was just 3 for 24 since returning from the injury.
“With the way our roster is set up, we can’t just give a guy four or five days to figure it out,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “You are going to have to make a move. With both of them going down at the same time, we have to get some players in here.”
Both Healy and Gordon left the team and flew back to Seattle to get checked out by team doctors. Servais said Gordon will undergo more tests on the wrist to see if there is more damage.
“I know he was in a little bit of a funk,” Servais said. “Obviously, he was really swinging the bat well before he got hit. I talked to Dee today. It’s probably the best thing to let it calm down and find out exactly if there is something else going on in there.”
Infielder Shed Long was recalled from Tacoma and inserted into Gordon’s spot at second base while utility infielder Dylan Moore was activated from the injured list. Moore suffered a right wrist contusion after getting hit by a pitch in New York. This is Long’s second call-up in the month. He went 0 for 9 in his previous call-up, which included his major-league debut.
The Mariners later announced they had signed veteran right-handed reliever Anthony Bass to a one-year MLB contract and added him to the active roster. Bass joined the team in Texas and was expected to be available for the game Tuesday. To make room for Bass, right-handed reliever Ryan Garton was designated for assignment. The Mariners have seven days to outright, trade or release Garton, who made two appearances, allowing four earned runs in three innings.
Long’s stay with the Mariners likely will be brief because third baseman Kyle Seager is near a return from the 60-day injured list after undergoing hand surgery during spring training. Seager is currently rehabbing with the Rainiers. He’s eligible to return Saturday when the Mariners are in Oakland. The expectation is that Seager will join the Mariners on Friday in the Bay Area and be activated from the IL on Saturday. Long would then be optioned back to Tacoma. Healy’s injured list stint temporarily solves the roster crunch situation with Seager’s return and a plethora of first baseman/designated hitter types on the 25-man roster.
Bass was pitching for the Reds’ Class AAA affiliate in Louisville this season before exercising an opt-out in his minor-league contract. He was 1-1 with nine saves and a 2.21 ERA in 19 appearances. Bass was briefly a Mariner before the 2015 season. Seattle acquired him along with outfielder Leonys Martin in a trade with the Rangers. Later that offseason, the Mariners granted him his release so he could pitch in Japan. In parts of seven MLB seasons with four different teams, Bass has pitched in 147 games, posting a 4.51 ERA.
Hunter Strickland (lat strain) is with the Mariners on the trip and continuing his rehab. He’s expected to be cleared to throw every day and hopes to be on a mound by the end of next week. Strickland is still expecting to return in mid-June.
The Mariners will remain in rotation even with the off day Thursday. Servais wants the extra day of rest for his starters. It projects to be this way:
- Wednesday at Texas — Marco Gonzales
- Thursday — Off
- Friday at Oakland — Wade LeBlanc
- Saturday at Oakland — Yusei Kikuchi
- Sunday at Oakland — Mike Leake
- Monday vs. Texas — Tommy Milone