Athletics starter A.J. Griffin was shut down for three weeks during spring training in mid-March with flexor tendinitis in his right elbow. Initially, the Athletics thought they’d dodged a bullet, but a source told CSN Bay Area’s Joe Stiglich that the right-hander will indeed undergo Tommy John surgery. Susan Slusser reports that assistant GM David Forst has refuted Stiglich’s report.
In the event that Griffin would need the surgery, he would join teammate Jarrod Parker as A’s pitchers to have undergone the procedure. Parker had his operation performed on March 25. It typically takes between a year and a year and a half for a pitcher to recover from Tommy John surgery, so Griffin wouldn’t be back until this time next season, if not later.
In 200 innings over 32 starts last season, Griffin posted a 3.83 ERA but was not on the team’s playoff roster in the ALDS against the Tigers.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.
I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.
Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.
Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?