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Closer Hunter Strickland hits 10-day IL with right lat strain, Mariners select RHP David McKay

Kyle Seager moves to the 60-day IL to create a spot for a $1 longshot.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Last night’s implosion by Hunter Strickland spoiled an otherwise excellent night for the Mariners against the defending champs. He looked uncomfortable to fans, teammates, and coaches, but was given the benefit of the doubt last night. Afterwards, Strickland clarified his shoulder had felt tight, but he felt he could get it done. Unfortunately, beyond the results of one game, Strickland’s shoulder appeared to be more lastingly disrupted.

The injury is labeled officially as a right lat strain. Like most strains, they come in grades, but since Strickland was still at 95 mph yesterday it’s reasonable to think the strain is closer to Grade 1 or at worst Grade 2. Those would put the recovery time between 2-6 weeks, and we’ll hear more in the next couple days.

As a result, the Mariners will go to a closer by committee approach. Ordinarily that is a grim situation, but with the Mariners coaching staff’s inability to break from reliever roles endangering dozens of games over the past few years, perhaps we’ll see the team learn to more flexibly utilize their bullpen. Anthony Swarzak should return by April 2nd and take some high leverage work, but Seattle will have to throw a number of their offseason acquisitions into the fire early and often this year. Gerson Bautista has yet to resume throwing and Shawn Armstrong is still working back up through bullpens.

The immediate replacement will be David McKay. We have a few profiles of McKay on the site, including his prospect profile and Ben’s deeper dive on him this Spring. The elevator pitch is this: he does not throw an elevator pitch. He does, however, have a nice sinker/slider combo that helped him dominate High-A and AA last year at age-23 after being purchased for $1 from the Royals.

McKay struck out 33.7% of hitters he faced in the Texas League while walking 10.0%, recording a 2.49/2.90/2.77 ERA/FIP/DRA in 50.2 IP in AA last year, and he did it mostly like this:

McKay lowered his arm slot since joining the M’s and has seen his stuff jump, and he looked in similarly fine form during Spring Training. He’ll likely make his MLB debut tonight with the M’s short-staffed and Mike Leake on the hill. Kyle Seager moving to the 60-day IL was an administrative move, as he was already expected to miss more than the 60-day limit since his injury, so that has no bearing on his recovery.

Welcome to the bigs, David McKay, have some Red Sox.