Mariners provide bittersweet update on the health of two key bullpen arms

With both Matt Brash and Gregory Santos dealing with injuries for the Mariners, one is slated to return a little sooner than the other
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

In a bullpen as elite as Seattle's, every arm matters. Pitching injuries are more common than kids with iPads these days and the Mariners are sadly not immune to this epidemic. Earlier on in spring training, it was reported that Matt Brash was dealing with elbow inflammation and it was unclear as to how much time he would have to miss.

Some feared the worst, that he might miss the majority or the entirety of the 2024 season. However, things are going better than expected and he is reported to be throwing from 110 feet away with maximum effort, the penultimate step before throwing off of a mound. It was reported that he'll still be unavailable come Opening Day but he could miss less time than expected. The team is anticipating a return around mid-April.

Unfortunately for fellow reliever Gregory Santos, the news was not as optimistic. After reporting some pinching in his back earlier in the spring, an MRI revealed a right lat strain and he was shut down. He is still actively rehabbing and Scott Servais was quoted as saying that he is "waiting to get things calmed down before he gets active in his routines." Santos is expected to be out for quite a few weeks but does not have an expected return as the team enters the final week of Spring Training.

Much of this news is ambivalent. On one hand, it's great that Brash's injury isn't quite as serious as it was initially cracked out to be. An important bullpen arm with an insanely high ceiling, he'll need his arm to be at full strength if he wants to keep dealing one of the best sliders in baseball, a pitch with a 44.1% strikeout rate and 48.5% whiff rate. While it's not the end of his season, it may be a persistent issue and cause him to lose velocity and/or spin rate, two extremely important slider characteristics.

For Santos, indeterminate return timelines are never good. Depending on the severity of the strain, it may take him a long time to not only heal from the injury but recover any lost velocity or strength in his arm. Similar to Brash, his best pitch was the slider and it averaged an incredible 91.4 mph with 31 inches of drop and 5.7 inches of horizontal break, an absolutely putrid pitch by all means.

He also boasts a sinker that averages 98.8 mph with great movement. If his rehabilitation process is not careful and deliberate, he may risk losing his otherworldly stuff. Fewer effective years of Gregory Santos means a greater loss incurred on sending Prelander Berroa and Zach DeLoach to Chicago.

Fans will have to be patient with these two players and while neither one of them will be present on the first day of the season, they may still find a way to major contributors to the success of a very competitive Seattle Mariners squad.