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05/16/2022   Seattle PI Mariners

TORONTO (AP) — Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray isn't joining Seattle for a series in Toronto this week, missing a chance to celebrate the Cy Young Award he won with the Blue Jays last season amid border restrictions related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ray pitched against the Mets in New York on Sunday, then remained in the U.S. while teammates traveled to Canada for Monday's series opener.

There was no locker for Ray in the Mariners’ clubhouse in Toronto. Manager Scott Servais said Ray will rejoin the team in Boston on Thursday for a four-game series against the Red Sox. He did not elaborate on the left-hander’s absence.

To enter the country, the Canadian government requires a person to have received a second COVID-19 vaccine dose — or one dose of Johnson & Johnson — at least 14 days before entry.

Players who go on the restricted list because they are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are not paid and do not accrue major league service time, according to a March agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association.

The agreement also stipulates that a pitcher who has pitched at least four consecutive innings in a game cannot be replaced on the active roster unless three days have elapsed.

The Mariners took advantage of a May 12 day off to alter their rotation so that Ray started Sunday in New York, where he allowed five runs in six innings, improving to 4-3.

Ray went 13-7 with a 2.84 ERA and a career-high 248 strikeouts in 32 starts for Toronto last season, when professional athletes were exempt from COVID-19 border regulations.

Ray then signed a $115 million contract, five-year contract with Seattle in November. He would have lost $346,154 had he been placed on the restricted list for being ineligible to accompany the team to Canada. Border exemptions...

05/08/2022   Seattle PI Mariners

Carlos Correa and the Minnesota Twins dodged a major problem this past week.

There were initial concerns that Correa might have a broken finger after Thursday night's game at Baltimore, but instead it was only bruised. The Twins, who have won 14 of 17, lead the AL Central by three games.

Correa was just 4 for 30 through his first eight games with the Twins, but the star shortstop has hit .313 since then. Correa went from Houston to Minnesota last offseason, signing a $105.3 million, three-year deal. Here's a look at how some of the other big free agent movers are doing so far:

Freddie Freeman, Dodgers. It sure looks like Freeman will be back in the playoffs after he left the World Series champion Braves and joined the Dodgers on a $162 million, six-year contract. Los Angeles has baseball’s best record, and Freeman is hitting .323 with an OPS of .925.

Max Scherzer, Mets. Scherzer has been a big part of New York’s impressive start, going 4-1 with a 2.92 ERA. A loss Sunday to Philadelphia was his first in his last 25 starts with the Nationals, Dodgers and Mets.

Marcus Semien, Rangers. One of two big middle infield signings by Texas, Semien is hitting just .184 with no home runs.

Corey Seager, Rangers. Seager is batting just .238, although he at least has four homers. He was also intentionally walked with the bases loaded by the Angels in one of the more unusual moments of the season.

Carlos Rodón, Giants. The former White Sox right-hander has been one of the top pitchers in the National League, going 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA.

Robbie Ray, Mariners. Last year's American League Cy Young winner is 2-3 with a 4.38 ERA.

Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays. Toronto lost Ray but signed Gausman, and so far that exchange is working out well. He's 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA — and has 46 strikeouts and...

05/02/2022   Seattle PI Mariners

Adam Frazier and the Seattle Mariners argued the first of this year's delayed salary arbitration cases on Monday, with the second baseman/outfielder asking for a raise from $4.3 million to $8 million and the team arguing for $6.7 million.

Arbitrators Margaret Brogan, Frederic Horowitz and Brian Keller heard the case virtually. They will withhold their decision for two weeks.

Frazier is batting .250 with no homers and 11 RBIs this season, though no statistics or evidence from after March 1 are admissible other than contract and salary comparisons. Major League Baseball and the players' association agreed to that provision as part of the agreement that ended the lockout.

Frazier was a first-time All-Star last year, when hit .267 with with one homer and 11 RBIs for Pittsburgh and San Diego, which traded him to the Mariners in November.

A seven-year big league veteran who is eligible for free agency after this season, Frazier has a .280 career average with 40 homers and 226 RBIs. He played for Pittsburgh from 2016 until he was traded to the Padres last July.

Nineteen additional players remaining eligible for arbitration, with hearings scheduled through June 24. Players scheduled for hearings include New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall, shortstop Dansby Swanson, pitcher Max Fried and third baseman Austin Riley, New York Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt, Kansas City outfielder Andrew Benintendi, Minnesota catcher Gary Sánchez and Philadelphia pitcher Zach Eflin.

Players and teams usually exchange proposed arbitration salaries in mid-January and argue cases during the first three weeks of February. This year's exchange was delayed until March 22 because of the lockout that started Dec. 2 and ended March 10.

Teams won five of nine hearings last year and have a 325-247 advantage since...


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