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Mariners announce LHP Anthony Misiewicz to IL, RHP Erik Swanson recalled from alternate site

The sandwiches will have to return to the cooler for a while

San Francisco Giants v Seattle Mariners
not my sandwiches
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

In a season that has so far turned on the firehose of Bad Pitcher Injury News for Mariners fans, we add yet another stream:

In what’s becoming a motto for the 2021 season, This Is Bad News! In a bullpen more mercurial than most, Anthony Misiewicz—or as he’s lovingly known around these parts, Tony Sandwiches—was a steadying force dating back to last season. Of the young relievers, he alone seemed to earn the trust of the front office, earning special mention from Jerry Dipoto in media sessions, and it’s a trust he earned from the fanbase by stacking reliable innings one after the other even as the rest of his bullpen-mates performed experimental jazz on the mound. Despite not being blessed with the loudest stuff, Misiewicz (pronounced “Mish-ev-itz” leading to his nickname “Sandwiches,” apparently from a minor league stadium announcer who did not have the time that day) has been a master of soft contact so far in the bigs, allowing a minuscule 2% barrel rate in his debut season of 2020. A strike-thrower who doesn’t walk people ever since his time in the minors, Misiewicz seemed well on his way to repeat those numbers in 2021 with a strong start out of the gate, providing some much-needed consistency in Seattle’s chimerical bullpen. He was also the lone lefty in the bullpen after Roenis Elías went down in spring training with a UCL injury requiring Tommy John, and with Erik Swanson replacing him, the ‘pen currently has no lefties, with just southpaw Aaron Fletcher waiting in the wings at the alternate training site.

The Mariners’ press release doesn’t specify anything about what type of injury it is, which is always troubling. There was no indication Misiewicz was injured after his latest outing—on April 7 he pitched an inning against the White Sox, striking out one and giving up one hit but allowing no other damage and in general looking like his Tony Sandwiches self—but he didn’t appear in the two close games against the Twin on Saturday nor Sunday. It is possible he’s being IL’d for possible COVID-19 exposure/contact tracing, which would have ramifications beyond just Misiewicz, but arm injuries are always a fear with pitchers, even for someone like Misiewicz, who has barely spent any time on the injured list in his career. Having moved to a full-time bullpen role after working as a starter in the minors, Misiewicz has added a couple ticks of velocity he didn’t have previously, pushing his fastball up to 94-95 after a minors career where it hung out more in the low-90s, and one hopes that isn’t a factor here. We should know more soon and will update this story when we do.

UPDATE: John actually called this in the Slack, so go to John for all your lottery number picking/water-witching needs:

With Misiewicz shelved, his spot in the pen will be occupied by Erik Swanson for now. Swanson was with the taxi squad and so can be immediately added to the roster without having to sit out for COVID protocols, which might be what gave him the nod over Fletcher, who would have to go through intake testing before he could be added to the squad. With the team on the back end of their roadtrip, summoning Swanson from the other end of the plane makes sense, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team select Fletcher once they’re back in Seattle in order to give the bullpen one solitary lefty.