Mariners' Ray to undergo season-ending flexor tendon surgery
Robbie Ray's 2023 season is over.
The Seattle Mariners left-hander needs surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his left elbow, manager Scott Servais announced Wednesday, per Daniel Kramer of MLB.com.
The 31-year-old allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings during his lone start of the season March 31 before he was placed on the 15-day injured list with a flexor strain. Ray was initially shut down from throwing for two weeks in the hopes that he could return later. However, additional testing showed more damage in a different area of the tendon that necessitated the surgery, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.
This is the first major injury for Ray, who's been a reliable innings-eater for most of his career. The Tennessee native had tossed at least 160 innings in all but two of his last seven full seasons, one of which was the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. His 193 1/3 frames pitched led the AL during his Cy Young-winning season in 2021.
Ray joined the Mariners on a five-year, $115-million contract before the 2022 season, less than a month after earning the Cy Young with the Toronto Blue Jays. His deal with Seattle contains an opt-out clause in 2024.
Though he didn't replicate his award-winning campaign during his first year with Seattle, Ray helped the Mariners return to the playoffs by posting a 3.71 ERA and 4.16 FIP with 212 strikeouts over 32 starts.
Seattle starters have mostly performed well this season, with Luis Castillo emerging as the staff's ace and George Kirby having walked just one batter in 22 2/3 innings. However, the team's rotation enters play Wednesday sporting a 4.06 ERA that ranks 20th in the majors.
Castillo, Kirby, Logan Gilbert, Chris Flexen, and Marco Gonzales will likely continue to serve as Seattle's starting five going forward. Servais added that the team will begin re-evaluating its depth options now that Ray is out of the picture, according to Divish.