Just when things seemed to be getting back on track, the Mariners best reliever has hit the Injured List. In a series of moves this morning, Andrés Muñoz was added to the 15-Day IL with a strained right deltoid. Your deltoids are your shoulder muscles, and shoulder injuries are always scary for pitchers. But as they go, this is a lot better than a lat, a teres, or anything involving the rotator cuff. As usual, details are scarce, but it does not seem to be a disaster.
With only eight relievers, the Mariners can’t slow play Munoz or wait 3 days for him to recover from an appearance. The hope seems to be this IL stint will clear it up— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) April 9, 2023
As we saw over the past two days, the Mariners really can’t afford to use one of their eight bullpen roster spots for someone who’s unavailble multiple days in a row. So it seems like this is just a necessity to allow him a few days to heal a minor strain. Also encouraging was the team’s choice to make the move retroactive to April 8. If they thought he was going to be out multiple weeks, I don’t think they’d bother making the move retroactive just to make him eligible to return a single day earlier. Here’s hoping anyway.
While they were at it, the team also optioned Matt Festa, who’s been ineffective to start the season. Hopefully they’ll get his slider command ironed out.
To take their places, we’ll get our first looks at relievers Justin Topa and JB Bukauskas, who came over this winter in a trade from Milwaukee and a waiver claim from Arizona respectively. Topa had the better spring, but Bukauskas has the better propsect pedigree, though it comes with a lengthy injury history befitting his high-effort delivery.
To make room on the 40-man for Bukauskas, Evan White was moved to the 60-day IL, but that’s a formality as we already knew he was going to be out several months with his most recent groin strain.