The Mariners announced Tuesday that they’ve placed right-hander Kendall Graveman on the 10-day injured list due to neck spasms and selected the contract of right-hander Joey Gerber from their alternate training site. Seattle also recalled southpaw Taylor Guilbeau from their alternate site and optioned fellow lefty Zac Grotz. Graveman’s placement on the IL is retroactive to Aug. 3.
Graveman, 29, had a rocky debut effort with the Mariners on July 27 but looked sharper on Aug. 2 before departing the game with some discomfort in his neck. He signed a one-year deal with Seattle over the winter after missing most of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.
Prior to his injury, Graveman was a solid mid-rotation piece for the division-rival Athletics, who acquired him as part of their return in what ended up being a lopsided Josh Donaldson swap with the Jays. Graveman proved to be the most productive member of Oakland’s return — though the A’s still have Franklin Barreto — pitching to a 4.11 ERA and 4.44 FIP through 407 frames fom 2015-17. At his best, Graveman racks up grounders and limits free passes and long balls — but he’s struggled a bit with both walks (five) and homer (two) in his first 8 2/3 frames this season.
The Mariners didn’t provide a timetable on Graveman’s return, although there’s no indication that he’s dealing with a significant injury. Seattle opened the season with a six-man rotation that also included Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, Taijuan Walker and Justin Dunn, so they can simply drop to a more conventional five-man outfit in Graveman’s absence should they choose.
Turning to the 23-year-old Gerber, he’ll be in line for his big league debut whenever he first takes the mound. The 2018 eighth-rounder hasn’t yet reached the Triple-A level, although he’d surely have done so in 2020 had there been a minor league season. Gerber was excellent in Double-A last year and has more generally impressed at every minor league stop in his career to date. He’s a pure bullpen prospect who, in 74 2/3 frames since being drafted, has worked to a 2.42 ERA with a whopping 13.6 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9. Gerber didn’t allow a homer across three Mariners Class-A affiliates and only yielded two in 22 2/3 innings of Double-A work in 2019.