Notebook: Mariners recall Erik Swanson as Wade LeBlanc hits IL; David Freitas traded
The Mariners will need to find a replacement for Wade LeBlanc in their rotation, but at least for now they’ll have Erik Swanson available out of their bullpen.
The Mariners placed LeBlanc on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain and and recalled Swanson from Triple-A Tacoma ahead of Sunday’s series finale against the Houston Astros. While Swanson will provide immediate help as a reliever, the Mariners have yet to announce who will take LeBlanc’s place in the starting rotation. His spot will come up again Wednesday in the final game of a three-game set against the Cleveland Indians.
LeBlanc suffered his injury in his start Friday against the Astros, coming out during the fifth inning after he felt discomfort following a pitch. Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters before Sunday’s game that LeBlanc’s strain is a Grade 2 and will keep him out of action for four to six weeks.
A 34-year-old left-hander, LeBlanc is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA (eight earned runs in 16 innings) this season. He went 9-5 with a 3.72 ERA and 130 strikeouts over 32 games (27 starts) in 2018 with the Mariners, earning himself a contract extension guaranteed through 2019 and including club options for each season through 2022.
The right-handed Swanson, 25, made his Major League debut on Thursday, allowing two runs over two innings in Seattle’s 7-6 extra innings win over Kansas City. He was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after the appearance. Acquired last offseason in the trade that sent James Paxton to the New York Yankees, Swanson has five scoreless innings under his belt in one start with the Tacoma Rainiers this season.
Swanson will be available to pitch out of the Mariners’ bullpen in Sunday against the Astros in a game that begins at 1:10 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle.
• The Mariners sent catcher David Freitas to the Milwaukee Brewers in a minor trade Sunday morning for minor league pitcher Sal Biasi. Freitas began the season as Seattle’s backup catcher but was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after the Mariners acquired Tom Murphy to take the spot. The 30-year-old Freitas played one game this season and 36 games last season with Seattle. In 2018, he hit .215 (20 for 93) with one home run, six doubles, eight walks and five RBIs for the Mariners. Biasi, 23, has thrown four scoreless innings with Single-A Wisconsin this season. An 11th-round pick by Kansas City in the 2017 MLB Draft, Biasi is 8-5 with three saves and a 3.26 ERA (42 earned runs, 116 innings) with 116 strikeouts and 50 walks in 49 games (eight starts) over parts of three seasons in the minors.
• In other Mariners injury news, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports that prospect Julio Rodriguez is day-to-day after taking a pitch off his left hand Friday playing for the Single-A West Virginia Power. Mariners director of player development Andy McKay told Johns that Rodriguez, the No. 3-ranked prospect in the Mariners organization by MLB Pipeline, is not expected to miss much time after X-rays showed no fracture.