Pitching Developments

We’ve got two interesting developments on the pitching front which could impact the Rainiers this season.

Danny Hultzen is set to pitch in today’s exhibition game against the Colorado Rockies. This is a big step for Hultzen, who has not pitched in a game since 2013 and is coming off major shoulder surgery. Hopefully he’ll have a good, healthy outing today.

Even if he proves he is healthy, we are not certain if Hultzen will open the season with the Rainiers. The Mariners are understandably going to be very careful as they build his workload up, and it will be a gradual increase in innings/pitch count. They could treat him like a pitcher on a rehabilitation assignment, and have him make his first start in Class-A, then a start or two in Double-A, and then Tacoma.

This is truly a one-day-at-a-time situation. For now, we’ll see how he feels after pitching today.

Yesterday the Mariners announced that they signed major league veteran Kevin Correia to a minor league contract, meaning he could theoretically open the season with the Rainiers.

Correia is going to compete to make the Mariners starting rotation, which seems like a far-fetched idea right now. Except… well, he’s done it before. A lot.

The 34-year-old right-hander has started over 200 games in the majors, and he has been a regular member of a starting rotation in the big leagues since 2009. He’s generally been a 4th or 5th starter and has a career record of 76-95, with a 4.59 ERA.

Correia fits in as depth. A spring injury or two and all of a sudden you are real happy that you signed him.

For the Rainiers, the question is more about if he is willing to pitch in Triple-A if he doesn’t make the Mariners. Due to his experience, he probably has an opt-out in his contract if he doesn’t make the M’s opening day roster. Correia hasn’t pitched in a minor league game since 2008.

He is a former PCL player: Correia came up through the Giants system and pitched for Fresno from 2003-2005 before establishing himself in the big leagues.

He should be quite good if he is in the Rainiers rotation – but that seems kind of unlikely right now.

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I happen to be in Vegas right now, for the Pac-12 Tournament (my favorite event of the off-season – hoping for a lot of close games, and Go Bears!). But we’ll still have a blog update for you on Friday so come back then.

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