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Mariners Notebook: Bullpen dealt another blow with Ken Giles injury

Apr 1, 2022, 4:34 PM | Updated: 4:34 pm

Mariners Ken Giles...

Ken Giles reacts recording a final out during a Blue Jays-Mariners game on Aug. 16, 2019. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Mariners have again been hit with the injury bug as it was learned Friday that veteran reliever Ken Giles has suffered a tendon injury in his right middle finger.

Scott Servais says these Mariners are the “most complete team” he’s had

Surgery will not be required but Giles has been shut down from throwing for at least the next two weeks. A small setback for most, but for Giles, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched in a game since 2020, it is a blow.

“It’s frustrating,” he said at his locker Friday. “It’s practically 2 1/2 years of nothing competitive.”

The injury was reported after playing catch earlier in the week, but Giles is uncertain exactly when it happened.

“It’s hard to describe,” he said. “It’s a soreness or stiffness. It’s not really when I’m gripping a baseball, it’s more spinning it – like when I am trying to spin my breaking ball.”

The loss of Giles opens up another spot in a Mariners bullpen that already lost Casey Sadler for the season earlier this spring. With teams getting two extra roster spots for April, the bullpen will be either nine or 10 deep, and the Mariners do have enough depth to be able to replace Giles with a reliever who has big league experience. There is also the chance of a player being added at the end of spring when teams are forced to place players on waivers that are out of minor league options and don’t make a roster.

Prior to the injury, it appeared Giles would start the season with the big league club. While a little slow to get going, his velocity picked up as camp went on. Giles is understandably disappointed but keeping perspective, realizing he is far closer to the end of his injury ordeal than the beginning.

“It doesn’t matter how I start, it’s how I finish the season,” he said. As long as I finish the season healthy, I think it is a win-win. I’ve just got to be patient. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of waiting in patience for the last over 500 days or so. I think I can deal with a little bit longer.”

Lineup!

Adam Frazier, 2B
Abraham Toro, 1B
Luis Torrens, DH
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
Julio Rodríguez, RF
J.P. Crawford, SS
Dylan Moore, LF
Jarred Kelenic, CF
Cal Raleigh. C

Matt Brash, SP
George Kirby, RP

Game details: Mariners at Rockies, 6:40 p.m. (live radio broadcast starts at 6:30 on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM)

It’s a marquee matchup Friday night within the team as Matt Brash and George Kirby are making their final starts of the spring, each looking to lock up the fifth spot in the rotation. While both have pitched very well, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto conceded on his weekly show on Seattle Sports Station that Brash has the inside track to the position as he was called up to the big leagues late last season.

Dipoto sheds light on Matt Brash, George Kirby rotation battle

It is also worth noting that Brash has been assigned to go first in the piggyback start for a second straight turn through the rotation. Still, nothing is final until the last look is had, and that happens tonight at Salt River Fields.

Mariners notes

• Rosters are not due to be set until opening day next Thursday, but manager Scott Servais said Friday morning that decisions could be announced on Sunday or Monday.

“You play it out to the end, make sure everybody is totally healthy, so there is nothing that is going to screw things up there,” he said. “I don’t mean to be coy, it’s just what you do in this situation.”

One remaining piece of intrigue will be how many catchers are on the 28-man roster. We covered this earlier in the week, noting that Cal Raleigh was getting a ton of playing time and had caught Robbie Ray in back-to-back outings. When asked Friday if the Mariners could go with three catchers on the roster, Servais answered, “I think there is a really good chance we could do that.”

• Kyle Lewis, the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year who is working back from knee surgery, has passed his baserunning test and is ready to get into a minor league game as a designated hitter. According to Servais, if he checks out of the game the next day with no issues, he could possibly get a day at DH in a Cactus League game. While hitting in games is a huge step toward a return, Servais cautioned that there still is a long way to go for Lewis, who played in just 36 games last season.

“Basically he’s a month behind,” Servais said. “He would need to go through a similar number of (spring training) at-bats. And it’s not just going out and playing, it’s what are you feeling like the next day. Can you play the next day? If he’s on a major league roster and he’s not available for a couple of days after he plays, that’s not functional, and he knows that.”

• Reliever Sergio Romo, 39, should make his spring debut by pitching an inning Saturday.

Salk: Nothing more important for Mariners than for Kelenic to succeed

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Mariners Notebook: Bullpen dealt another blow with Ken Giles injury