Hunter Strickland
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Hunter Strickland to undergo MRI on right shoulder

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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.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”


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