The last time Seattle Mariners prospect Danny Hultzen had trouble getting loose, it resulted in a strained left shoulder that sidelined the left-hander for nearly two months.
Hultzen, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft, was scratched from Tuesday’s scheduled start with the Tacoma Rainiers for precautionary reasons after the 23-year-old once again couldn’t get loose prior to the game against visiting Colorado Springs.
Despite not having Hultzen on the mound, the Rainiers still notched their Pacific Coast League-best 50th win, pushing seven runners across in the third inning to beat the Sky Sox, 10-4, at Cheney Stadium.
“We hope it’s not too serious,” said Tacoma manager John Stearns about Hultzen. “He shut himself down. He hasn’t seen a doctor yet. He was getting treatment in the clubhouse during the game. As of now, we really don’t know the full diagnosis. We should know more tomorrow and have a plan of what we need to do next. To have this happen to a guy twice in a season is tough. Hopefully, he realized what was going on and prevented any more damage when he shut himself down. So that might be a good sign.”
Hultzen (4-1, 2.20 ERA) was also scratched from his start April 26 and was later diagnosed with a left rotator cuff strain.
Rest and rehabilitation followed before he returned to the mound June 27, where he looked sharp and showed no signs of the injury after allowing just two hits while striking out six in six innings in Tacoma’s 2-0 victory over Las Vegas.
Hultzen was throwing in the outfield approximately 20 minutes before Tuesday’s first pitch but never made it to the bullpen for an official warm-up.
Hector Noesi got the start in place of Hultzen.
Noesi went three innings, giving up one run. Jonathan Arias got the win in relief, giving up two runs on five hits with six strikeouts in 32/3 innings.
Colorado Springs starting pitcher Cory Riordan left the game with one out in the third inning after rolling his left ankle while stepping off the mound after a pitch. He was replaced by Parker Frazier, who was victimized for seven runs by Tacoma – highlighted by a two-run double from Rich Poythress – as the Rainiers took a 7-1 lead.
Tacoma closes out its three-game series against Colorado Springs today at 7:05 p.m. James Paxton (4-6, 5.24 ERA) gets the start for the Rainiers; the Sky Sox will go with Aaron Cook (0-3, 7.40).
rainiers 10, SKY SOX 4