Mariners Injury Updates: Justin Dunn and Kendall Graveman return

Jun 11, 2021, 1:23 PM | Updated: 1:57 pm
Mariners RHP Kendall Graveman...
The Mariners will have Kendall Graveman in the bullpen for the first time since mid-May. (Getty)

The Mariners have been one of the most injured clubs in all of baseball this year, but they’ll be getting two key arms back for their series with the Cleveland Indians.

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Here’s the latest updates on some of Seattle’s top players who entered Friday on the injured list, including a potential timeline for 2020 American League Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis.

RHP Justin Dunn

After a brief stint on the 10-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation, the Mariners will have Justin Dunn back on the mound for Friday’s series opener against the Cleveland Indians.

After striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings against the Texas Rangers, Dunn landed on the IL as his shoulder didn’t quite recover like it usually does in the days following a start. Fortunately for the Mariners, though, Dunn missed just one turn in the rotation and with him back in the mix, Seattle once again has a full six-man rotation and will not need to go to any bullpen starts for the time being.

And that’s especially a good thing for the Mariners as Dunn has been one of the team’s best starters in 2021, if not their best.

After a rocky 2020, Dunn’s stuff has improved and so have the results.

He’s just 1-2 on the year in nine starts, but he has a 3.18 ERA, leads all Mariners starters with a 126 ERA+ (100 is league average) and wins above replacement with 1.1, and he’s missing more bats than he did last year, as evidenced by his 45 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings.

For Dunn, walks are still a problem as he’s given up 27 free passes so far, but he’s not allowing many hits. As of Friday, he’s second in the American League in opponent batting average.

RHP Kendall Graveman

Kendall Graveman began his rehab assignment this week, striking out two in one inning of work on Tuesday for Triple-A Tacoma.

That was all he needed as far as an in-game tune up goes, apparently, as he was activated off the injured list along with Dunn on Friday.

Graveman has been out since mid-May as he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list and had to quarantine in San Diego during the Mariners’ prior road trip.

Prior to landing on the IL, Graveman was perhaps the best reliever in baseball, recording five saves and not allowing a run in 16 2/3 innings while striking out 17. He is also second on the Mariners in WAR with 1.5, trailing only shortstop J.P. Crawford.

Naturally, manager Scott Servais is looking forward to having Graveman back in the mix.

“I’d love to have him back because he was obviously throwing the ball outstanding and was a big part of our bullpen, certainly the back end of our bullpen,” Servais told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Tuesday.

Now, Servais will have his wish.

To make room for both Graveman and Dunn on the active roster, reliever Keynan Middleton was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma and reliever Yacksel Rios was designated for assignment.

1B Evan White

Mariners first baseman Evan White has been on the injured list with a hip injury since May 13 and was set to begin a rehab assignment for Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday, but he was scratched from the game. Rainers announce Mike Curto reported on Twitter that he was told White didn’t feel right during pre-game batting practice.

But per 710 ESPN Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer, Servais told reporters Friday that White could play Friday night for the Rainiers.

Thursday morning, general manager Jerry Dipoto conducted his weekly visit with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant and was asked about White’s timeline and also whether he would potentially stay with Tacoma for a longer period of time as he was struggling at the plate to start the 2021 season. In 30 games, White slashed .144/.202/.237.

Dipoto said the Mariners will go “week to week” with White going forward, just like they would with any player returning from a prolonged absence.

“Once we see that they’re healthy and I guess back to their normal performance norms then we’ll go ahead and make a decision on when to add them back to the big league club,” Dipoto said. “It could be as quick as a week or 10 days or it could be twice that long (for White). We’ll see how it goes. Evan’s been out for a while and the injury he had wasn’t a simple one, so we’re going to want to see him get out there and play regularly and play back-to-back days and do the things that we expect him to do when he arrives back in Seattle.”

IF Dylan Moore

Dylan Moore has been sidelined since May 18 with a calf injury, and Dipoto and manager Scott Servais have said that he was expected to return sooner than White.

That was the case this week as Moore began his rehab assignment in Tacoma on Monday.

So far, Moore has played in two games for the Rainiers and has three hits in seven plate appearances, including a home run.

Dipoto told Danny and Gallant that Moore, “should be back for the next homestand,” which begins Monday against the Minnesota Twins.

After being one of the Mariners’ best players in 2020, Moore struggled at the plate to start 2021, slashing .168/.270/.353 in 41 games, but he had hits in eight of his last 11 games before being placed on the IL. And despite his overall struggles with the bat, Moore still posted a 0.7 wins above replacement mark and still leads the team with eight stolen bases.

OF Kyle Lewis

The biggest name on Seattle’s injured list is Lewis, who is out with a partially torn meniscus he suffered while leaping for a line drive in center field on May 31.

Lewis underwent an MRI and after getting those initial results, he went and got a second opinion.

Dipoto told Danny and Gallant shortly after the injury that he expected “a prolonged absence” with Lewis.

“I don’t think this is going to be days and weeks, I think it’s going to be longer than that,” Dipoto said on June 3.

But in his most recent interview Danny and Gallant, Dipoto seemed to hint that Lewis may be back sooner than expected.

When asked about when top prospect Jarred Kelenic could return to the MLB roster, Dipoto said that around the All-Star break he expected the Mariners to field a lineup that’s “reflective of what we think our future championship clubs are going to start to look like.”

Among the names mentioned were White, Kelenic, Moore, top catching prospect Cal Raleigh and, you guessed it, Lewis.

You can listen to the latest Jerry Dipoto Show at this link.

Update, 1:56 p.m. June 11: Per ROOT Sports’ Brad Adam, Servais in his pregame press conference on Friday, told reporters that Lewis underwent surgery on his knee and his timeline is uncertain.

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