There are never good times for pitcher arm injuries, but in the final stretch before roster expansion is exceptionally unfortunate.
#Mariners recall RHP Dan Altavilla from Triple-A Tacoma after placing RHP Tony Zych on 10-day disabled list.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) August 22, 2017
Tony Zych heading to the DL is disappointing, but in hindsight is far from surprising. The DL stint is retroactive to 8/20, but based on his velocity numbers it looks likely that the initial incident was a couple weeks earlier.
That lowest blip for his fastball was the second of August in Texas, just around 91 mph. Zych’s velocity has slowly trended downwards all season, but took its biggest drop then. After three days of rest he was back up to a reasonable 93, but that’s still well below the 95 mph he was averaging for the first four months of the season. The Mariners obviously hoped Zych could heal up with a bit of extra rest, but it wasn’t enough. Zych has struggled to stay healthy before, and with his violent motion and pitch repertoire it’s not tough to see why. There is hope that with a bit more extended rest Zych can return immediately after the ten days are up (or when rosters expand a day later).
Dan Altavilla returns off his best stretch in Tacoma thus far. The walks have still been present but the strikeouts have risen as well. In 16.2 IP from July 2nd until now he’s recorded a 26/12 K/BB ratio. Altavilla has struggled to work clean innings and gone deep into counts, but he’s also been more successful in battling back when he falls behind. Many of his struggles with the Mariners arose from falling behind and giving in to hitters, so hopefully his command will sustain. Altavilla may be around just briefly, ceding to David Phelps who is expected to return as early as Wednesday. Still, Alt is likely to return when rosters expand, so it’d be nice to see him work well today or tomorrow.