Mariners Bullpen Update: Muñoz status, prospect Berroa now a reliever

May 11, 2023, 11:31 AM

Seattle Mariners Prelander Berroa...

Prelander Berroa of the Seattle Mariners warms up before pitching vs the Padres on Feb. 24, 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Mariners’ pitching staff has been arguably the best in baseball to start the 2023 season, and once again the M’s are getting major contributions from the bullpen.

Servais: Rotation giving Seattle Mariners a chance to win ‘pretty much every game’

What makes Seattle’s pitching dominance especially impressive is that the team’s top reliever hasn’t pitched in more than a month.

During this week’s Jerry Dipoto Show on Seattle Sports, the Seattle Mariners’ president of baseball operations shared an injury update on Andrés Muñoz as well as why a top pitching prospect is now working out of the bullpen.

When Muñoz is expected back with Seattle Mariners

When Muñoz was placed on the injured list in early April, it was thought he would be back in roughly two weeks from his right deltoid strain. But due to a few setbacks, the hard-throwing right-hander is now slated to return next month, Dipoto said.

“Muni had a PRP injection last Friday,” Dipoto said. “If you’ll recall, we spoke (last) Thursday and we thought we would have more information and he was set to begin a rehab assignment the next day. He had a little bit of a setback and that resulted in a PRP injection that we think has solved the problem.”

Muñoz’s shoulder has no structural damage, Dipoto said, and when he starts his rehab assignment will be dependent on how he looks in bullpen sessions once he progresses to that point.

“We do hope to have him back in the next couple of weeks. If that is around the first of June or the first week of June, that would be about the best we could hope for,” Dipoto said. “And with these things, you never know. There could be another setback. We thought this was going to be a two-week thing at the start, so it’s tough to predict. But we do expect Muni back at full force at some point in the near future. I just can’t give you a reasonable time other than to bucket it up as the first of June or thereabouts.”

Prelander Berroa now a reliever

There were a number of standouts during spring training for the Mariners, one of which was Prelander Berroa, a hard-throwing right-hander who really impressed between High-A and Double-A last year after being acquired from the San Francisco Giants in an early-season trade. Berroa entered 2023 as the M’s 14th-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

Berroa was a starter last year and to begin this season, but he worked out of the bullpen Wednesday for Double-A Arkansas for the very first time and pitched a scoreless inning while touching 99 mph.

“We always saw Prelander as a bullpen guy,” Dipoto said. “He was so impressive in terms of the physical stuff, what he has – three pitches, and three pitches suggest starter – but we thought Prelander’s focus would greatly improve if we just shortened him up a little bit.”

It’s not the first time the Mariners have shifted a hard-throwing starter to the bullpen in the minors.

“It’s very similar to what we did years back with Edwin Díaz, it’s a very similar transition to what we made with Matt Brash last year,” Dipoto said. “And that’s what we presented to Berroa, and he listened to the presentation and he said, ‘Cool, I’m good to go.’ And I think he sees himself as a reliever. It’s a huge arm, it’s a devastating slider, he throws up to 100 mph, and our impression was we were probably going to spin our wheels with him as a starter because the command would just get in the way over a five-, six- or seven-inning outing. But asking him to go get three or six outs with that kind of stuff and just focus on the big strike zone rather than trying to be to fine with multiple different pitches could really accelerate his growth.”

The Jerry Dipoto Show airs live at 8:30 a.m. each Thursday during Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk. Listen to this week’s edition in the podcast below.

Seattle Mariners’ Servais: Julio ‘trying to be a little bit more’ than himself

Brock and Salk podcast

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
High 65° | Low 47°
Roof is open
Cubs at Mariners today at 6:40pm

Brock and Salk

Seattle Mariners trade target Luis Robert Jr....

Zac Hereth

Does a Luis Robert trade make sense for Mariners? Passan explains

Chicago White Sox outfielder Luis Robert's name has come up as a trade candidate for the Seattle Mariners. Insider Jeff Passan weighs in.

13 hours ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Seattle Mariners legend Jay Buhner talks about the return of Buhner Buzz night, the ’24 Mariners

What did Seattle Mariners legend Jay Buhner have to say about the return of Buhner Buzz night? What does he think about this 2024 version of the Mariners? He joined Brock Huard and Mike Salk to talk about that and what it means to bring back on of the fan favorite events from the 90’s. […]

21 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Ryan Grubb OTAs 2024...

Cameron Van Til

How will new Seahawks OC Grubb need to adjust playbook for NFL?

Brock Huard explains how new Seattle Seahawks OC Ryan Grubb might need to adjust his playbook as he transitions from college to the NFL.

23 hours ago

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba 49ers 2023...

Cameron Van Til

What would breakout year from Seahawks’ JSN look like?

If Seattle Seahawks WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba has a breakout season, what would that look like? Former NFL wideout Michael Bumpus weighs in.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks DL Dre'Mont Jones...

Zac Hereth

Blue 88: The best way Seahawks can use DL Dre’Mont Jones

Ex-Seattle Seahawks WR Michael Bumpus breaks down how DL Dre'Mont Jones can make his biggest impact in his second year with the team.

2 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Olu Oluwatimi center Cardinals 2023...

Zac Hereth

The changes Big Ray sees in Seahawks OL Olu Oluwatimi

Former Seattle Seahawks OL Ray Roberts highlights the improvement he's seen with the team's potenetial starting center.

4 days ago

Mariners Bullpen Update: Muñoz status, prospect Berroa now a reliever