Mariners’ Robbie Ray does not travel with team on road trip to Toronto

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The Seattle Mariners will continue a three-city, 10-game road trip on Monday night by kicking off a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays.  As has become the custom for teams visiting Toronto this season, the Mariners made a couple of roster moves prior to Monday’s game: promoting veteran left-hander Roenis Elías and placing right-hander Drew Steckenrider on the restricted list. (Players do not receive pay or service time credit while they’re on the restricted list.) No official reason was given for the transaction. 

Mariners manager Scott Servais said last week that Seattle would be without a “couple” of players because of Canada’s rules dictating that all players who enter the country must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Servais did not disclose the players’ identities. Steckenrider, who successfully restarted his career last season as a member of the Mariners bullpen, has gotten off to a shakier start this year. He’s posted a 4.85 ERA (76 ERA+) and a 1.80 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 14 appearances.

Mariners beat reporters also noted prior to Monday night’s game that left-hander Robbie Ray, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner who would’ve been making his return to Toronto, did not have a locker set up in Seattle’s clubhouse. Servais confirmed that Ray is not with the team; he isn’t injured, however, as Servais said he is scheduled to make his next start in Boston on Friday against the Red Sox

The Mariners rearranged their rotation so that Ray started on Sunday against the New York Mets. In doing so, the Mariners pushed Chris Flexen’s start to Monday night.

Ray pitched to a 157 ERA+ and had 248 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings last season, winning the AL Cy Young Award during a one-year deal with the Blue Jays. Toronto never seemed close to re-signing Ray, however, opting instead to ink starter Kevin Gausman to a five-year, $110 million deal over the offseason.

Ray does not appear en route to repeating as the AL’s Cy Young Award winner. In his first eight starts with the Mariners, he’s accumulated a 4.62 ERA (78 ERA+) and a 2.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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