Mariners closer Hunter Strickland may be looking at a stint on the injured list after experiencing some tightness in his right shoulder, per a recent report from the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish. While Strickland dismissed the pain as “just part of the job,” he’s expected to receive further evaluation from team doctors and could undergo an MRI if the Mariners believe his injury is serious.
The 30-year-old closer dominated in his first two outings of the year after picking up a pair of saves against the Athletics in Japan. When he returned to Seattle for his first stateside appearance, however, his visible discomfort on the mound generated an epic ninth inning meltdown. Rafael Devers popped a leadoff double, Blake Swihart took a free base on a hit-by-pitch, and Mitch Moreland delivered a three-run homer that lifted the Red Sox to their eventual 7-6 win.
While the Mariners have yet to determine the extent of Strickland’s injury, Divish notes that they could revert to a closer-by-committee approach until he makes a full recovery. Right-handers Cory Gearrin and rookie Matt Festa may also step up in late-inning situations in the interim, though an official replacement for Strickland has not been announced.
Update: Strickland has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a Grade 2 right lat strain. In corresponding moves, the Mariners selected the contract of right-hander David McKay from Triple-A Tacoma and shifted Kyle Seager (left hand injury) to the 60-day IL.