Mariners reliever Gregory Santos to begin rehab assignment

Jun 28, 2024, 5:32 PM | Updated: 7:36 pm

Seattle Mariners Gregory Santos...

Gregory Santos celebrates the final out in a win over Cleveland in 2023. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – After another successful session throwing live bating practice, reliever Gregory Santos is taking the next step towards making his Seattle Mariners debut.

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Mariners general manager Justin Hollander announced Friday that the flamethrowing Santos will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Santos has been out since spring training with a right latissimus dorsi strain.

“We will see how it goes sort of outing to outing,” Hollander said, “and we don’t anticipate a very long rehab assignment because he’s been throwing with us.”

After the 21-pitch live batting practice against second baseman Ryan Bliss before Friday’s home series opener against the Minnesota Twins, Santos said he was feeling “pretty good.” He noted his main goal was to come out of the session healthy.

“I think it was enough pitches,” Santos said through interpreter Freddie Llanos. “At first, I think I was having a little issue maybe locating the fastball a little bit, but then the body just kind of synchronized and it was good.”

It was the second time Bliss has taken live batting practice reps off Santos over the past week, and he again came away impressed with his teammate.

“It didn’t get any easier,” Bliss said of facing Santos for a second time. “… He would be a weapon in the bullpen for a team like us, and I’m just excited for him to get back.”

For Bliss, it was Santos’ hard sinker that stood out.

“It’s 98 (mph) with splitter movement,” Bliss said. “You really just don’t see that. I mean, the ball drops out of nowhere, you don’t really see it. It’s just, like I said, something unique and it’s a really good pitch.”

Santos has had multiple setbacks that have delayed his return. The team originally hoped he’d be ready in May. Those setbacks through the rehab process have been tough for the 24-year-0ld right-hander, who pitched 66 1/3 innings with a 3.39 ERA in 60 appearances for the Chicago White Sox last season.

“It was a little difficult, because it felt like whenever I was making progress, there would be some step back and then I would have to go back,” he said. “But I just got to keep my head down, work and I knew God was going to give the opportunity to be here with my team again.”

Santos rejoined the team last month after spending time at its training site in Arizona. He credited his teammates for the positive impact they’ve had since then.

“They’ve actually helped a lot, always telling me, ‘Santos, you know you got this. Let’s go do this,'” Santos said. “They’ve been very important letting me keep going because I never heard anything negative from them, just a lot of support from this team.”

More on the Seattle Mariners

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• Rost: The two things about first-place Mariners’ season that are baffling
• ‘Absolute workhorse’ Logan Gilbert has been Mariners’ ace
• 3 Takes: Big questions about Seattle Mariners halfway through season
• Lefko: Julio’s struggles magnify Seattle Mariners’ need to add impact bat

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