After going through the entire 2022 season with none of Seattle’s starting pitchers missing a turn due to injury, it took two games for the Mariners’ rotation to be impacted.
Ray had a rocky first start on Friday night in a 9-4 loss to the Cleveland Guardians. Ray failed to make it through the fourth inning, issued five walks and struggled badly with his control.
“In the second inning it felt a little tight, but it didn’t seem out of the ordinary,” Ray said. “It was a cold night, I just thought maybe it took me a while to get loose in that second inning. I didn’t really think that much about it, but after that my arm started to tighten up a good amount.”
Seattle manager Scott Servais said Ray had an MRI on Saturday that showed a Grade 1 strain. Ray won’t throw for two weeks and will be reevaluated. Servais said there didn’t appear to be any larger issues.
“He’s going to be shut down for a couple weeks, then he’ll build up and hopefully be good to go after that,” Servais said.
Ray, 31, has been incredibly durable for most of his career. Aside from the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Ray has made at least 28 starts five times since 2016, including the 2021 season with the Toronto Blue Jays when he won the AL Cy Young Award.
In his first season with Seattle last year, Ray made 32 starts and had a 3.71 ERA.
Seattle recalled left-hander Gabe Speier from Triple-A Tacoma, but Servais said righty Chris Flexen will step into the starting rotation. Flexen threw four innings of relief on Friday night and last season made 22 starts for the Mariners before shifting to the bullpen.