A Mariners pitching staff that is reeling from injuries may have suffered another blow to its depth, as manager Scott Servais told reporters Wednesday that Tommy John surgery is a possibility for right-hander Ljay Newsome (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Corey Brock).
Seattle opened the season with a six-man rotation featuring Marco Gonzales, James Paxton, Justus Sheffield, Yusei Kikuchi, Chris Flexen and Justin Dunn. However, the Mariners have already lost Paxton for the year due to Tommy John surgery, and Gonzales is currently on the injured list due to a forearm strain. Lefty Nick Margevicius, who got a look in the rotation following Paxton’s injury, is now out due to shoulder troubles. Seattle is also without relievers Keynan Middleton (biceps strain) and Casey Sadler (shoulder inflammation) at the moment.
The 24-year-old Newsome has only pitched in a dozen big-league games but was one of the club’s first depth options in the event of injuries to its starting staff. He’s been roughed up for a 6.53 ERA through 30 big-league innings, but he’s whiffed 25 hitters against just four walks (one of which was intentional) during that time — a much more encouraging sign. In his last full minor league season, Newsome posted a combined 3.54 ERA with a superlative 169-to-17 K/BB ratio (27.3 percent strikeout rate, 2.7 percent walk rate) through 155 innings across three levels.
Newsome hit the injured list earlier this week for what looked at the time to be a rather innocuous bout of elbow inflammation. It’s now clear that further testing has revealed a much more severe prognosis. A final decision on his treatment has yet to be made, and Servais did note that other options, including a platelet-rich plasma injection, are under consideration. Still, it’s a tough bit of news for both the organization and the young righty himself, as he won’t be able to return to the mound anytime soon regardless of which path they take.
With Newsome joining Gonzales, Paxton and Margevicius on the shelf and the Mariners slipping below .500, it’s not a surprise to see the team turning its sights to top prospect Logan Gilbert. The 2018 first-rounder is slated to make his Major League debut for the Mariners Thursday.