Mariners Notebook: Casey Sadler, ’21 breakout reliever, out for year

Mar 20, 2022, 5:12 PM

Mariners Casey Sadler...

Mariners reliever Casey Sadler pitches against the Angels in October 2021. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Following the Mariners’ 7-3 Cactus League loss to the Angels on Sunday afternoon, manager Scott Servais confirmed that Casey Sadler will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.

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Earlier in the day, the reliever himself let fans know via social media that his season was over (see his tweet here).

Sadler missed May, June and most of July last season with right shoulder inflammation, only to come back and become one of the most effective relievers in baseball. He posted a 0.67 ERA, an MLB-best for relievers with 40 innings or more, and opponents hit just .067 off his curveball. Used primarily in the sixth through eighth innings, Sadler was counted on to get high-leverage outs while being a bridge to two other breakout pitchers in Seattle’s bullpen, Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider.

“He was upset this morning,” said Servais, who declined to go into specifics about Sadler’s shoulder injury and surgery. “He was such a big part of our bullpen last year certainly down the stretch in that critical pivot role in our ‘pen. Disappointed for him but it’s an opportunity; somebody else will have to step up. He eventually will be fine but he is not going to pitch for us this year.”

The loss comes from a position group where the Mariners have the most depth. They are returning all key relievers from 2021 while adding veteran closer Ken Giles and hard-throwing 23-year-old Andrés Muñoz, who both spent 2021 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in Arizona (Muñoz did return to pitch in the Mariners’ season finale). There are also a handful of intriguing relievers in the minors who likely need more innings before being considered but nonetheless are worth keeping an eye on.

For now, the Mariners appear to be covered as it is not hard to pencil in eight or nine names to an opening day roster. But in a year where they are expected to compete for a postseason spot, it is preferable to have a depth cushion should there be further injury or underperformance. The option to add from the outside always remains, and to that end, the club announced the signing of veteran left-handed reliever Ryan Buchter to a minor league deal earlier in the day.

Mariners notes

• Chris Flexen followed up rotation mate Marco Gonzlaes’ strong opening outing Friday with one of his own. Flexen threw three innings Sunday, allowing one run on two hits while striking out four and not allowing a walk. Flexen mixed in all four of his pitches in the outing, a sight you don’t normally see the first time out in spring training. With the possibility of just four starts in the shortened spring, however, it’s good to see Flexen and Gonazales ready to throw everything from the get-go.

Angels 7, Mariners 3: Box score

• Ty France recorded his first home run of the spring, a solo shot to the berm in left center off Jaime Barria. Jesse Winker also hit an RBI double the one-hopped the wall in center.

• On Monday we will get our first look at the Mariners’ top pitching prospect, George Kirby, against big leaguers. He is scheduled to start and throw three innings against the Diamondbacks in Scottsdale, Ariz. Matt Brash and Paul Sewald are also scheduled to pitch.

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