MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - INSIDE PITCH
While two-thirds of the Mariners' so-called "Big Three" pitching prospects have made the most of their recent promotions to the big leagues, the one left behind looks nowhere close to ready.
LHP Danny Hultzen, who was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft, had another setback Tuesday when it was announced that he will travel to Florida to receive a second opinion on his sore right shoulder from Dr. James Andrews. Hultzen's left shoulder has given him problems throughout the season, with apparent labrum issues limiting him to just 30 1/3 innings at Triple-A Tacoma.
While LHP James Paxton and RHP Taijuan Walker did enough with the Mariners this month to become legitimate candidates for the 2014 rotation, Hultzen's immediate future is stuck in limbo.
"(Team doctor Ed Khalfayan) saw him and quite frankly doesn't like what he sees," general manager Jack Zduriencik told reporters before Tuesday's game against Kansas City. "He has every right to have a second opinion, and Ed wants him to have a second opinion. We've been in touch with Dr. Andrews, and we're trying to work on getting him in there on Thursday and let them look at it -- and make a decision at that time."
Before the season, Hultzen was projected as the closest among the "Big Three" to being big-league ready, and the consensus was that he would be called up at some point this season then become a mainstay in Seattle's rotation.
But the shoulder irritation has been a problem for most of this season, and now it's hard to project when -- or if -- Hultzen might be ready to be a part of the future.
Walker, despite a clean bill of health, has already been shut down for the season after nearing his pre-determined season limit of 160 innings. The 22-year old went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts with the Mariners this season, and all indications are that he'll be given a chance to make the rotation out of spring training in a few months.
The same could be said for Paxton, who made his final start of the season Tuesday night and seemed to save his best for last. The 24-year-old southpaw threw seven shutout innings while striking out 10 and finishes his first stint in the big leagues with a 3-0 record and 1.50 ERA. He joins struggling veteran Joe Saunders as the only lefty starters projected to compete for starting spots in the spring.
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Won two
PAST 10 GAMES: 4-6
NEXT: Friday: A's (Bartolo Colon, 17-6, 2.64) at Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 12-9, 2.99)
--C Mike Zunino hit two home runs on Wednesday night. It is the first career multi-home run game for Zunino, who has hit five during his rookie campaign.
--2B Nick Franklin went hitless in three at-bats on Wednesday, snapping his career-high eight game hitting streak. Franklin hit .367 (11-for-30) with three runs, two doubles and two RBI during the streak.
--RHP Felix Hernandez will make his final start of 2013 against the Athletics on Friday. Hernandez needs just 1 2/3 innings to top 200 for the fifth consecutive season. Seattle's ace is 12-9 with a 2.99 ERA and 210 strikeouts this season. Hernandez whiffed 10 his last time out on Sept. 22, his first appearance since being shelved almost three weeks earlier with an oblique injury.
--RHP Hisashi Iwakuma carries a streak of 23 straight scoreless innings pitched into next year. Iwakuma tossed eight shutout frames on Wednesday to top 20 consecutive scoreless innings for the second time this season. Iwakuma also lowered his ERA to 2.66, which is good for second lowest in the American League behind Bartolo Colon and Anibal Sanchez (2.64).
--3B Kyle Seager's double in the fifth inning marked his 56th extra-base hit of the season, tying him with Kendrys Morales for the team lead.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's just been a lot of fun to watch him have a great season and a lot of fun to watch him progress over here. He does the work, he pays attention to the game, prepares himself well and he handles himself well in a grand fashion, too, out there." -- Manager Eric Wedge, on the progression of starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma.
MLB Team Report - Seattle Mariners - ROSTER REPORT
--RHP Stephen Pryor (torn right lat muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list April 15, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 17. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on July 19, but he was shut down for the remainder of the season in August.
RHP Felix Hernandez
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
LHP Joe Saunders
RHP Taijuan Walker
RHP Erasmo Ramirez
LHP James Paxton
RHP Danny Farquhar (closer)
RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
RHP Yoervis Medina
LHP Charlie Furbush
LHP Oliver Perez
LHP Lucas Luetge
RHP Brandon Maurer
RHP Chance Ruffin
RHP Hector Noesi
LHP Bobby LaFromboise
1B Justin Smoak
2B Nick Franklin
SS Brad Miller
3B Kyle Seager
DH Kendrys Morales
INF Carlos Triunfel
LF Franklin Gutierrez
CF Michael Saunders
RF Abraham Almonte
OF Raul Ibanez
OF Endy Chavez
OF/INF Dustin Ackley