Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said on Wednesday that Cliff Lee will make a rehab start in Triple-A on Sunday. (As you can tell by the photo, they’re quite excited about his arrival in Tacoma!) Then assuming there are no setbacks, he will make his regular season debut for the Mariners on April 30 against the Texas Rangers.
Lee, who has been on the disabled list since April 4 with an abdominal strain, has already thrown a pair of simulated games without incident, and on Tuesday saw his five-game suspension rescinded after he convinced MLB officials that his injuries – not ill intent – were the reason he threw a ball over the head of Arizona catcher Chris Snyder in a spring training game.
Who Lee bumps from Seattle’s rotation is still a question, and no easy decision given the recent strong outings from back-of-the-rotation guys Doug Fister (2-0, six hits, one run in last two starts) and Jason Vargas (2-0, three runs in last two starts).
The guess here is that Ian Snell, who was scheduled to start Saturday but has been pushed back to Tuesday, will be the guy who loses out. But that’s just speculation at this point. One thing I don’t expect the Mariners to do is act like the Cubs and move Felix Hernandez to the bullpen.
And in the good-problem-to-have department, Erik Bedard was scheduled to throw a 60-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday, with an eye toward returning in late May.
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.