TODAY: Hirano is still on the injured list but he has been cleared to join the Mariners’ Summer Camp. As per the Japan Times and other outlets, Hirano revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19, and was kept from training for almost two weeks while battling virus symptoms.
JULY 14: The Mariners announced that they have placed right-handed reliever Yoshihisa Hirano on the injured list. The club didn’t provide a reason for Hirano’s IL placement, but Greg Johns of MLB.com notes that he’s the only Mariner who hasn’t been cleared to report to Summer Camp.
Hirano joined the Mariners as one of their most notable acquisitions during the winter, when the team handed the former Diamondback a one-year, $1.6MM contract in free agency. If healthy, he’s an obvious candidate to rack up a substantial number of innings in a bullpen that’s light on proven options and just lost righty Gerson Bautista to a flexor strain.
Hirano, 36, is a two-year major league veteran who emigrated from his homeland of Japan after a dominant run there. While last season didn’t go nearly as well for Hirano as his initial campaign did, he has overall been a respectable late-game option in the bigs. Across 119 1/3 innings in Arizona, Hirano recorded a 3.47 ERA/3.85 FIP with 9.05 K/9, 3.39 BB/9, a 47.7 percent groundball rate and 47 holds.