The Mariners originally expressed optimism that David Aardsma would be ready for the start of the season after hip surgery, but general manager Jack Zduriencik told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times yesterday that the surgery was more extensive than first expected and that the right-hander might not be ready for Opening Day.
Aardsma, who turned 29 last month, has a 2.92 ERA and 129/59 K/BB ratio over the past two seasons with the Mariners, where he has spent the majority of the time as the team’s closer. The Mariners were reportedly shopping the arbitration-eligible reliever around the time of the Winter Meetings, but those efforts will be put on the back burner for now.
Brandon League should be the favorite to handle save opportunities in Aardsma’s absence. League, who turns 28 in March, posted a 3.42 ERA and 56/27 K/B ratio over 79 innings last season. He led all American League relievers with a ground ball rate of 62.8 percent.