Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters (including MLB.com’s Daniel Kramer) about a series of roster moves prior to tonight’s game with the Blue Jays, including catcher Luis Torrens being activated from the 10-day injured list. Torrens joins minor league callups Matt Brash and Matt Festa as new faces on Seattle’s roster, while right-hander Ken Giles was placed on the 15-day IL due to shoulder inflammation, catcher Andrew Knapp was designated for assignment, and right-hander Erik Swanson was placed on the paternity list.
Left shoulder inflammation sent Torrens to the IL back on June 27, so he’ll return after missing only just beyond the 10-day minimum. The Mariners were hoping Torrens’ good numbers in 2021 meant he was ready to take a step forward as a part-time DH and catcher this season, but he has struggled to a .222/.280/.241 slash line over 118 plate appearances. Cal Raleigh has started to emerge as a solid regular starter behind the plate, and Tom Murphy is gone for the season due to shoulder surgery, so there would seemingly be room for Torrens to remain as the backup catcher for the remainder of the year.
Seattle selected Knapp’s contract when Torrens hit the injured list, and Knapp has appeared in two games in a Mariners uniform. Due to Knapp’s service time and the fact that he has been outrighted off a 40-man roster in the past, he has the freedom to elect free agency rather than accept an outright assignment to the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate — Knapp already chose free agency when the Pirates DFA’ed him in May, which paved the way for Knapp to sign with the Mariners. It remains to be seen if Knapp will become a free agent again, or if he’ll choose to remain at Triple-A Tacoma (assuming he clears DFA waivers) as a depth option.
After missing all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery, Giles then suffered a strained tendon in his right middle finger that delayed his M’s debut until June 21. The veteran reliever has allowed no runs and only one hit over 4 1/3 innings of work, albeit with four walks in that small sample size. Unfortunately for Giles, he’ll now be sidelined again with this latest injury.
Brash and Festa will look to fill the holes in Seattle’s bullpen, and Brash is making his return to the big leagues in a new relief role. Beginning the year as a starting pitcher, the former top-100 prospect posted a 7.65 ERA over five starts and 20 innings, recording almost as many walks (17) as strikeouts (19). The Mariners made the aggressive decision to promote Brash to the majors without any time spent at Triple-A, so Brash got his first taste of the top minor league level when the M’s demoted him in May and then converted him to relief pitching.
The results have thus far been impressive. Over his last 17 innings, Brash has posted a 1.59 ERA, a whopping 37.9% strikeout rate, and only a 7.57% walk rate. The hard-throwing Brash has the stuff to be a dominant reliever on paper, should he keep his past control problems in check.
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