Hirano (illness) remains at the Mariners' spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona for the moment, where he continues throwing bullpen sessions in an effort to build up his arm, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. The veteran reliever's bout with COVID-19 earlier in the summer put him significantly behind the curve in building his arm back up, so Hirano is in the midst of playing catch-up at the moment. The 36-year-old, who's thought to be in line for save opportunities whenever he does make it to the big-league roster, will transition to the Mariners' alternate training site in Tacoma when he's ready to face live hitters.
Hirano (illness) is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session at the Mariners' spring training facility in Peoria, Arizona on Thursday, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports. Hirano remains without a firm timetable for his 2020 debut, but manager Scott Servais noted the veteran is "another guy we desperately need." The 36-year-old had signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Mariners in January and was thought of as a leading candidate for the closer's job until testing positive for COVID-19 on June 25. Hirano did manage to gain clearance in time to participate in the last few days of summer camp, and he'll eventually work up to pitching in intrasquad games at the team's alternate training site in Tacoma before activation is considered.
Hirano (illness) cleared MLB's COVID-19 protocols and reported to the team facility Saturday, The Japan Times reports. The veteran reliever was absent from most of summer training after testing positive for coronavirus, but he produced two negative tests and was able to participate in workouts Saturday. Hirano apparently dealt with a high fever and was unable to train during the early stages of his quarantine, so he'll likely require some time to ramp up before being game-ready. The 36-year-old was in the mix to operate as Seattle's closer, but Matt Magill is likely to begin the season in that role.
Hirano told the Kyodo News on Tuesday that his placement on the injured list was the result of a positive COVID-19 test. Seattle never provided an official explanation behind Hirano's move to the IL earlier Tuesday, though his absence from summer camp had already created suspicion that he might have tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the report, Hirano's positive test came all the way back on June 25, and he's since tested negative for COVID-19 on July 6. He'll need one more negative test result before he's allowed to rejoin the Mariners for workouts, but since he hasn't been able to train the past two weeks, Hirano will likely require some ramp-up time once he reports to the team before he's deemed ready for game action. With Hirano out of the Seattle bullpen picture at least temporarily, Matt Magill now looks like the favorite to open the season as the team's top closing candidate.
Hirano was placed on the injured list Tuesday for unspecified reasons. The veteran right-hander has yet to report to Seattle's summer camp, and his availability for Opening Day next week is firmly in question. No official reason was provided for Hirano's absence, as the Mariners are legally unable to disclose if it has anything to do with the COVID-19 pandemic without his permission. The 36-year-old was expected to be in the mix for the closer's job at the start of the season, but Matt Magill is now the favorite to work the ninth inning for Seattle.
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