The Mariners’ bullpen cluster took a hit, and in so doing helped clarify the Opening Day roster today. RHP Shawn Armstrong suffered a strain to his oblique which will send him to the Injured List (the IL, replacing the DL, as it will still take time to adjust to). He’ll be inactive for the Japan Series and, starting from the home opener on March 28th against the Red Sox, eight more days at least.
Mariners bullpen takes another hit as Shawn Armstrong going on injured list with a strained oblique. Here's the update from Tokyo. https://t.co/tonj0LOJ5R— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) March 19, 2019
Armstrong suffered the injury in his final Cactus League appearance, but unfortunately the injury wasn’t discovered until reaching Japan. Seattle has 30 players in Japan, though just 28 will be available for use, and only 25 can be active per game. Armstrong had looked solid this spring, and after a strong showing to finish 2018, he was in line for high leverage work in a setup role. He’ll likely still have that chance, but oblique strains can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to quiet down.
That’s big news in the short term for guys like Nick Rumbelow, Brandon Brennan, and Cory Gearrin, all of whom were probably the closest to the edge of making the Opening Day 25. While all three have to be on the 25-man typically, because of the unique 28-man eligibility of the Japan Series, it is my understanding that all three players could make the 28-man roster but not the 25-man. Of course, with 28 players to work with and the knowledge that most of their starters won’t appear, Seattle’s 25-man group may simply consist of a few fewer starters who won’t play that day. Regardless, if the injury extends into April or beyond, we’ll see more of the three above, as well as Matt Festa, Chasen Bradford, and Dan Altavilla. While those three are among the more talented bullpen arms on the roster, they all have minor league options remaining, meaning they’re fresh and available for Tacoma.
The rest of the roster moves came in as well.
From the MLB website transaction list pic.twitter.com/qPvly0AHaT— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 19, 2019
Ichiro makes his entrance to the roster, replacing Kristopher Negron who slipped through waivers recently. The only two notable points - both Kyle Seager and Sam Tuivailala are currently on the 10-day IL. Seager is expected to miss 10-12 weeks, while Tuivailala has played catch but is likely to return closer to the All-Star break. They can be moved to the 60-day IL at any time, opening a 40-man roster spot, but at the moment Seattle hasn’t found cause to do so. So while the 40-man is currently technically full, the Mariners can make room if given cause.