The Mariners announced five roster moves today, including the news that right-hander Andres Munoz has been placed on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to April 8) with a right deltoid strain. Seattle also placed first baseman Evan White on the 60-day IL with a left adductor strain, since it was known White would be out of action for the next two months. Right-handers Justin Topa and J.B. Bukauskas are up from Triple-A, and in Bukauskas’ case, the Mariners selected his contract. Matt Festa was optioned to Triple-A to create further space.
Coming off a dominant 2022 campaign, Munoz hasn’t allowed a run in 3 1/3 innings of work so far this season, though his strikeout rate has declined to only 20 percent. Manager Scott Servais told reporters (including The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and The Athletic’s Corey Brock) that imaging didn’t reveal any structural problems for Munoz, though he has been feeling pain in the back of his shoulder and he has had trouble recovering after outings. Likely related to this issue, the Mariners haven’t used Munoz on back-to-back days yet.
Munoz didn’t have quite a normal Spring Training, as the team took a slower progression to his ramp-up work as a nod to Munoz’s recovery from offseason foot surgery. It could be that Munoz just needs a little more time to properly build his arm strength, and the IL placement seems somewhat precautionary in nature. “We’re playing the long game,” Servais said, referring to the Mariners’ hope that this IL stint gets Munoz on track for the remainder of the season.
Seattle didn’t enter the season with a true closer, as while Paul Sewald got the bulk of save chances in 2022 and was expected for more or less the same this year, the M’s were taking a more situational approach to their late-game situations. Munoz was seen as a candidate to perhaps eventually become the first-choice closer, or the Mariners could have simply continued to use him when needed in any sort of high-leverage scenario. Servais said that Matt Brash will now get more usage in Munoz’s role with the righty out of action.
Bukauskas was claimed off waivers from the Diamondbacks in January, and then designated for assignment and outrighted off of Seattle’s 40-man roster. His only other MLB action came in 2021, when he posted a 7.79 ERA over 17 1/3 innings for Arizona. A former top-100 prospect during his time in the Astros farm system, Bukauskas has posted some interesting numbers since becoming a full-time relief pitcher the minors, and the move to the bullpen looks to have solved the control problems that began to emerge for Bukauskas as a starter. He’ll now get another crack at the majors as part of the Mariners’ bullpen shuffle.
This is a blow to the Mariners, being without Munoz.
Their vaunted bullpen is somewhat diminished now.
More load on the others.
I hope Munoz gets strong and well again.
Just read some Divish stuff, he says it’s more of a precautionary thing and that he could still pitch today if necessary. So hopefully he’s just got a little strain that needs some rest
Got my fingers crossed.
The Mariners could still sweep the Guardians today. I wonder if they would use Murfee again though. Those Guardians can hit!
Gonna be tough, but they could do it. Kirby is one who can go the distance and they might not need a killer setup man.
We need our offensse to bury the Guardians early.
Big April game today! Two scrappy, playoff contending teams and today will be the tiebreaker on the 3-3 season series. Last time they’ll see each other in the regular season
Scrappy is right.
Twelve innings worth.
Tough loss for the Mariners, the way it worked out.
But tomorrow is a new day, different opponent in a different league but the same goals.
Let’s hope this loss didn’t take the fight out of them.
Do pitchers still hit in the National League?
Aw, don’t tell me . . .
Big blow on Munoz. Hope it’s a speedy recovery. He’s looked like his normal spectacular self so far
Gonna be out longer
Sucks but I’m glad they’re playing the long game with him. He’s too valuable to risk losing him for longer earlier in the season.
Bukauskas sucks he shouldn’t even be in our farm system UGh
I watch Bukauskas pitch, his stuff is Ok his control is a problem so much so that the Snakes gave up on him. Maybe they can straighten him out. meanwhile cleanup work would be more advisable.
Yesterday, I thought Bukakauskas looked like a pitcher who provides organizational depth, and who shouldn’t be counted on for anything but being a warm body who can be called up if one of the regulars is injured. Maybe there’s still a chance of him finding some control over his pitches. If so, at some point he could be useful at the major league level.
Picked up the game in the 9th inning thought the M’s had the game with that two run lead, Oh well.