Mariners’ Dipoto gives injury updates, timelines for Muñoz and Ray

May 4, 2023, 12:38 PM

Seattle Mariners Andres Munoz...

Andres Munoz of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Cleveland Guardians on April 2, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Two key Seattle Mariners pitchers are on the shelf right now, but one is going to be back much sooner than the other.

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During Thursday’s Jerry Dipoto Show on Seattle Sports, the Mariners’ president of baseball operations shared updates on star reliever Andrés Muñoz and veteran lefty starter Robbie Ray.

Andrés Muñoz expected back with Seattle Mariners soon

Muñoz, a go-to reliever for the Mariners, has been sidelined by a right deltoid strain since early-April after just four appearances.

It was expected that the flame-throwing righty would be back by the end of April, but we’re now a few days into May and Muñoz is still on the injured list.

Dipoto said Muñoz is “actually doing very well” and is nearing a rehab assignment and his return to MLB action.

“It’s been a little longer than we were hoping for, which is, I guess, the way it goes with putting players on the IL. (Sometimes) you think it’s going to be two weeks and two weeks turns into four pretty quickly,” Dipoto said. “But he’s throwing comfortably, he’s in his throwing program. We anticipate he’s going to throw tomorrow in another bullpen session. If that goes well – which it has been going generally well – he’ll see hitters on Monday, and we don’t think it’s going to take more than an outing or two on a rehab assignment to get him back. So fingers crossed (he returns) somewhere in the middle of May.”

Robbie Ray undergoes Tommy John

The Mariners were dealt a big blow to their pitching depth when Ray went on the injured list with a flexor strain after making just one start.

Unfortunately for Ray and the Mariners, the news has just gotten worse from there.

It was announced recently that Ray would need surgery on that flexor tendon in his left forearm and that he’d miss the rest of the 2023 season.

And on Wednesday, the Mariners announced that in addition to repairing that damaged flexor tendon, Ray also underwent Tommy John surgery on the UCL in his left elbow.

“We knew it was a possibility, not a certainty,” Dipoto said of Ray undergoing Tommy John.

Dipoto said the Mariners learned from Ray’s doctor that while he was going to repair the flexor tendon, he realized Ray would need work done on his UCL, too.

“Mostly to fortify the ligament and make sure that when Robbie comes back, he’s in position to be as strong as possible rather than coming back from a flexor (injury) and risking something else,” Dipoto said. “It’s extends the rehab process by perhaps as much as two months, but that two months gives us more certainty in a complete recovery and a strong picture. We’re all in this for the long game, especially when it pertains to pitchers. We want to make sure that when they step out onto the mound that they are ready to go to the extent that we can help them be 100%.”

So when does Dipoto think Ray could return to the Mariners?

“I would say something in the neighborhood of May or June next year. That’s just judging the normal Tommy John recovery,” Dipoto said. “… For pitchers, you’re always looking at something in the neighborhood of a year to 15 months in recovery time. And Robbie’s diligent with his rehab. More often than not, what we’re seeing now is the Tommy John (surgery) has such a high percentage chance of full recovery, and in some ways it’s been that you see guys come back with a stronger ligament and you get a little bit ‘stuffier,’ and that’s an important thing as Robbie heads into his 30s.”

Listen to the full interview with Dipoto at this link or in the player below.

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