TORONTO — The Mariners made an expected roster move Monday afternoon before opening a three-game series vs. the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.
Right-handed pitcher Drew Steckenrider was placed on the restricted list and temporarily removed from the 40-man roster. Lefty Roenis Elías, who joined the team in New York on Saturday, had his minor league contract selected from Class AAA Tacoma and was added to the 40-man roster.
While no official reason was listed on the roster move, Steckenrider isn’t with the team because he isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. Based on restrictions set by the Canadian government, any person traveling into Canada who isn’t vaccinated is required to quarantine for 14 days. Obviously, that’s a non-starter for MLB teams.
When a player is on the restricted list, they are not paid for those days nor do they accrue service time.
Per an agreement with MLB and the MLBPA, a player’s vaccination status cannot be discussed or disclosed without player approval.
Elías, 33, has a 4.30 ERA (7 ER, 14.2 IP) in 11 appearances (one start) with 11 strikeouts the Rainiers this season. Elías has not appeared in the majors since the 2019 season after missing the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to injury (left flexor strain in 2020, Tommy John surgery in 2021).
The Cuban-born left-hander signed a minor league contract with the Mariners on April 1, 2021. Elías has experience in both starting and relieving roles, going 22-24 with a 3.97 ERA (171 ER, 388.0 IP) in 126 career games (54 starts) with 14 saves. Elías is a veteran of six major league seasons with Seattle (2014-15, 2018-19), Boston (2016-17) and Washington (2019).
If Elías appears in a game, he will become just the fifth player in Mariners history to have three different stints with the Mariners, joining Mike Blowers, Raúl Ibañez, Norm Charlton and Jeff Nelson. Elías’ 143 strikeouts in 2014 are the fourth most in a season by a rookie in Mariners history, trailing only Mark Langston (204 in 1984), Michael Pineda (173 in 2011) and Freddy García (170 in 1999).
Steckenrider, 31, struggled in his appearance on Sunday, putting the Mariners’ victory and series win in jeopardy. He recorded just one out and allowing two runs before being lifted for Diego Castillo. In 14 appearances this season, he is 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA (7 ER, 13.0 IP) with two saves. In 2021, Steckenrider went 5-2 with a 2.00 ERA (15 ER, 67.2 IP) with 14 saves in 62 games out of the Mariners bullpen. His 2.00 ERA in 2021 ranks as the sixth lowest in Mariners history among pitchers with at least 60 innings.
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