- Mariners lefty James Paxton has been scratched from his next scheduled start, as Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports, and could be headed to the DL. Though Paxton wants to pitch, and the team no doubt wants to give him the ball, manager Scott Servais says that the prudent course is further rest. Forearm soreness is almost always scary, but in this case it resulted not from a throwing injury but a line drive. Regardless, Seattle will hope to get the southpaw back in action as soon as reasonably possible. The 27-year-old appears to be harnessing his talent at an opportune time for a Mariners team that is trying to make a run at a Wild Card, if not the AL West title. Over his 81 2/3 innings on the year, Paxton owns a 3.53 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9, and he has been even better of late.
The Mariners announced that they’ve traded infielder Luis Sardinas to the Padres in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The Padres have also announced the move, adding that Sardinas has been optioned to Triple-A El Paso, and right-hander Erik Johnson has been moved to the 60-day disabled list in order to create a spot on the 40-man roster.
A slumping Bryce Harper was out of the lineup again tonight for the Nationals owing to a seemingly minor neck issue, but the precise nature of his injury has been the subject of some debate. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post breaks down all the back-and-forth on the topic. In essence, Nats GM Mike Rizzo strongly denied a report from SI.com’s Tom Verducci indicating that Harper may have been playing through a shoulder injury for some time. Rizzo insists that Harper simply has a stiff neck that has not yet required a DL placement.
Here’s more on some injury situations around the game:
- Diamondbacks righty Rubby De La Rosa has suffered a setback in his efforts to come back from a forearm injury, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com tweets. He’s headed for an MRI to see where things stand. It seems as if there’s little reason to expect the 27-year-old to return to the majors this season. That’s a tough blow for the D-Backs, who surely would like to get a longer look at a pitcher who showed a fair bit of promise this year. Over 47 2/3 innings earlier in the season, De La Rosa worked to a 4.15 ERA with 9.3 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9.
- The Astros will be without Colby Rasmus for a month or more after he underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his ear, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Rasmus has been struggling for some time, and it’s fair to wonder whether the issue may have played a significant role. He’ll need to return in good form to provide a boost to the ’Stros — and to bolster his fading free agent position.
- Marlins first baseman Justin Bour isn’t progressing in his attempt to return from an ankle injury, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports on Twitter. In fact, manager Don Mattingly says that Bour “went backwards” of late, with the team’s expectation now being that he won’t return until at least early September. That certainly seems to open some room for Miami to look into adding a bat to chip in down the stretch.
- Athletics righty Sonny Gray only just began forearm exercises today, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group reports. He won’t begin throwing again unless and until the inflammation subsides. At this point, it seems far from certain whether he’ll make it back to a major league hill this season.
- The Mariners may soon send reliever Steve Cishek out on a rehab assignment, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports. It appears that his hip labrum issue is indeed as minor as the team had suggested. Meanwhile, fellow pen righty Tony Zych is also finally making some progress and will begin a rehab assignment on Friday. Adding those two arms down the stretch would provide a significant boost to Seattle’s late-inning mix.
The Mariners announced today that they have designated outfielder Daniel Robertson for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for right-hander Joe Wieland, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Tacoma. Wieland will start tonight’s game for Seattle.
[Related: Updated Seattle Mariners Depth Chart]
The 30-year-old Robertson made 21 plate appearances for the Mariners this season and batted .263/.300/316. He’s had limited experience across the past three seasons between Seattle, Anaheim and Texas, compiling a .273/.322/.325 batting line in 298 trips to the plate. The Mariners claimed Robertson off waivers from the Angels this past winter — the second time that GM Jerry Dipoto has claimed Robertson (he also did so when he was the Angels’ GM). Robertson, who is capable of playing all three outfield positions, batted .281/.341/.418 with 14 doubles, seven triples, six homers and 10 steals with Triple-A Tacoma this season.
Wieland, also acquired this offseason (from the Dodgers), started the season terribly and found himself outrighted off the 40-man roster. However, after posting a 17.31 ERA through his first 13 innings, he’s rebounded with a 3.67 ERA and an 83-to-23 K/BB ratio in 90 2/3 innings across his past 17 starts. Wieland looked like a potential rotation option for the Padres when he came up as a 22-year-old back in 2012 but underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2013 season. Since that time he’s been traded from San Diego to Los Angeles (in the Matt Kemp blockbuster) and struggled to stick in the big leagues. Now 26 years of age, Wieland has a 5.85 ERA in 47 2/3 Major League innings, though his recent work in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League is certainly more encouraging.
- The Mariners’ trade deadline tightrope walk has paid off thus far, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. GM Jerry Dipoto ultimately settled on a few relatively modest moves to tweak the club’s roster and set of contractual obligations, but the M’s have responded by pushing to seven games over .500 — putting them right in the thick of the Wild Card hunt. The veteran executive suggested that the team looked at more significant transactions. “I’m a big fan of trying to pounce on opportunity,” he said. “We talked with a variety of clubs about acquisitions that maybe would have been more notable — I don’t want to say star quality, but more household-type names. We also talked about the possibility of moving players out who were more household names. … In the end, the best moves we could make were holding steady.”
- Meanwhile, tough-luck Mariners lefty Danny Hultzen isn’t yet ready to give up pitching, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports. He has undergone another shoulder procedure in hopes of making it back to the hill. The former second overall pick, now 26, threw 124 innings back in 2012 but hasn’t even cracked fifty total in the four seasons since.
- Mariners southpaw reliever Charlie Furbush will undergo surgery on the partially torn rotator cuff in his left arm Tuesday, writes Maddie Lee of MLB.com. Recovery time is expected to range from 12 to 18 months for Furbush, who told Lee, “Right now, I think, for me, a realistic goal would be Spring Training of 2018. But anything earlier than that and I’m on board.” Furbush, 30, was diagnosed with the injury last August and hasn’t taken a major league mound since last July. He was a dependable bullpen weapon for the Mariners until then, logging a 3.23 ERA, 10.32 K/9 and 3.03 BB/9 in 175 1/3 innings since 2012. Furbush also held left-handed hitters to a woeful .172/.243/.228 batting line during that span.
Sardinas, whom the Mariners acquired from the Brewers for outfielder Ramon Flores in November, collected 77 plate appearances with Seattle prior to his designation and hit just .181/.203/.264. The 23-year-old added to his struggles by striking out in nearly a third of PAs (25) while walking only once. Notably, Sardinas has lined up at six different positions – including pitcher – this year. During his one-inning mound stint on July 29, Sardinas retired the vaunted Cubs in order on a mere eight pitches. Unfortunately, that has been the highlight in an otherwise disappointing season for Sardinas, who previously garnered a combined 230 trips to the plate with the Rangers and Brewers from 2014-15. In total, Sardinas has batted an ugly .218/.257/.268 with two homers in 307 big league PAs.
The Tigers announced today that they’ve claimed right-hander Donn Roach off waivers from the Mariners and designated fellow right-hander Jeff Ferrell for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Roach, who was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Aug. 4, has been optioned to Triple-A, per the Tigers’ announcement.
In 39 career innings at the Major League level, Roach has a 5.77 ERA with 20 strikeouts against 18 walks. While those numbers aren’t especially enticing, Roach intrigues a great many teams, as he’s been on the 40-man roster of the Padres, Cubs, Blue Jays, Reds, Mariners and now Tigers in the past two years. He’s never missed many bats, but Roach is a ground-ball specialist (67.1 percent in the Majors) and did see an intriguing spike in his average fastball velocity in his brief eight-inning sample with Seattle this year; after averaging 88-89 mph in prior seasons, Roach’s heater averaged 92.6 mph in 2016.
Baseball America rated Ferrell, 25, as the Tigers’ No. 21 prospect this past offseason on the heels of a 2.58 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 38 1/3 innings. However, injuries have limited him to just 7 1/3 innings at the Triple-A level this year and 11 1/3 innings overall. He hasn’t pitched in a game since mid-May.
The Yankees have announced that they’ve claimed righty Blake Parker from the Mariners. In addition, to clear space for new lefty reliever Tommy Layne, they’ve optioned lefty Richard Bleier to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Another move will be required to make space on the team’s active roster when Parker reports.
The Mariners designated Parker for assignment when they acquired Arquimedes Caminero from the Pirates over the weekend. Parker has only pitched one inning in the big leagues this season, but he’s had a very impressive campaign in Triple-A, posting a 2.72 ERA, 12.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 39 2/3 innings for Tacoma.
Parker signed a minor league deal with the Mariners last offseason. He missed most of the 2015 season after being released by the Cubs in May, but pitched parts of three seasons in the big leagues with Chicago before that, posting a 3.63 ERA, 10.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 74 1/3 innings. Both his Major and minor league numbers — and particularly his outstanding strikeout rate — suggest there’s potential for him to contribute once again, so it’s hardly surprising to see a team take a chance on him.
- Mariners lefty James Paxton was two outs away from a complete game victory yesterday when he was hit on his throwing elbow by an Andrelton Simmons line drive. Fortunately for Paxton and the M’s, x-rays were negative and manager Scott Servais told reporters (including Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune) that he’s hoping Paxton may not even miss a start, thanks to an off-day this week in Seattle’s schedule. The injury has been diagnosed as a deep bruise, and Paxton will be able to pitch if the swelling subsides. Paxton has been a big part of the Mariners rotation, posting a 3.53 ERA, 4.06 K/BB rate and 8.04 K/9 over 81 2/3 IP this season, and any missed time for Paxton would undoubtedly be a blow to Seattle’s wild card hopes.
- In other Mariners pitching news, Taijuan Walker was optioned to Triple-A to create a 25-man roster spot for the newly-acquired Arquimedes Caminero. Ariel Miranda will continue in the Mariners’ rotation filling Walker’s spot. [Updated Mariners depth chart at Roster Resource.] Walker got off to a strong start this season that fueled his solid year-long stats (4.10 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 4.0 K/BB rate), though he has had trouble pitching deep into games. Walker has also struggled in his last two outings, sandwiched around a month-long DL stint due to right foot tendinitis, and the M’s couldn’t allow for Walker time to regain his form with the team in a playoff race. “His last 13 starts, he’s had three quality starts. It may be different if we were 10 or 15 games below .500. We’re not,” Servais told Dutton and other reporters.
- Despite the demotion, the Mariners haven’t given up on Walker and aren’t looking to trade him, Dutton tweets in response to a reader question. Walker received a lot of attention from other teams prior to the trade deadline but GM Jerry Dipoto said the young hurler wasn’t available.