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Zych's arm zigs, rotator cuff zags, pitcher goes on DL

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The right-hander becomes the fifth Mariner relief pitcher on the DL.

Just saying
Just saying
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Hi. How are you? I imagine you're feeling pretty good these days. The Mariners are 14-11, and a mere fraction of a game behind the first place Rangers. Last night's 4-3 win was a nailbiter, but also another victory that felt like a game Mariner teams of the past have so often lost. The team has the second best run differential in the American League. Baseball Prospectus says the Mariners have a 62.5% chance of making the playoffs. This is fun right?

No, as a matter of fact it is not fun. For baseball is woe itself, spouse to misfortune, and calamity its mistress.

Now I know what you're thinking: "I like Tony Zych! He's good at pool, and the Mariners got him for a dollar, and he has that frisbee on loan from hell itself!" Well, yeah, me too. Unfortunately baseball hates you, and hates joy. So it's off to the disabled list with our friend Tony. If there's any solace to this news whatsoever it's that a struggle with tendinitis in the shoulder may partially explain his soaring walk rate, which had more than quadrupled this year over last.

Zych joins Evan Scribner, Joaquin Benoit, Ryan Cook, and Charlie Furbush as Mariner relief pitchers on the DL. It hasn't mattered in performance, yet. But there's only so much fun in fungible and sooner or later the team will run out of pitching depth. Here's hoping a few of these guys get healthy before that happens.

In Zych's stead the team has called up Steve Johnson, who was acquired on March 17 to help stem this exact tide of injured relievers. He has 59.1 not particularly impressive major league innings in this career, although he was running a 20/2 K/BB ratio in seven appearances in Tacoma.

The takeaway is this injury hurts the Mariners' relief depth, obviously, and puts additional pressure on the rotation to continue to go deep into games. The team can survive as is with relievers only throwing the 8th and 9th, but if/when the starters slip and four, five, or more relief innings are needed the unproven underbelly of the bullpen will be exposed, and it could very well get ugly.