Today brought news that embattled starter Nate Karns is being moved to the bullpen. Taijuan Walker will avoid the DL—that gentle breeze you just felt is the relieved exhale of Mariners fans across the city—and make the start on Thursday, while recently acquired Wade LeBlanc will go on Friday. This is a good move because:
Real Talk. Nate Karns in June: 7.33/4.39/5.50 (ERA/FIP/xFIP). BB% up to 15%(!). As long as it's not permanent, it could be a good thing.— Jake Mailhot (@jakemailhot) June 28, 2016
Yowza. Karns pitched just 23.1 innings in his five starts in June, compared to 35.1 in his six May starts. For a rotation that’s struggling to stay healthy and a heavily-taxed bullpen that has its own set of problems, moving Karns to the bullpen will hopefully offer up some immediate relief by taking away one of the bullpen stressors and adding a multi-inning arm. Karns has been a starter for the majority of his career, with only limited relief appearances, so it’s difficult to predict how he’ll handle the switch to the bullpen. Servais indicated that the move would be temporary, but this is the best move for the team now. Considering how frustrated Karns looked after his last few starts, sitting on the bench with Mel Stottlemyre, Jr., this move will ideally offer Karns the chance to step away from his game for a minute and make some adjustments.
Meanwhile, from the Good News Department:
Felix Hernandez threw a 25- pitch bullpen session today. No issues with the calf— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 28, 2016
Please be okay, Beloved King.