After spending months on the shelf and completing a pair of simulated games, the righty was finally ready to tackle a rehab assignment.
If all went well, the plan was for him to join the MLB team for the stretch run and give the club some bullpen depth.
But unfortunately, things did not go to plan in his rehab stint.
Here’s a recap of Dunn’s last few months and an update on what we know about his setback last night.
Dunn Has Been Dealing With A Shoulder Issue For Months
The injury that landed Dunn on the IL was a shoulder strain.
The issue first surfaced after his May 29 outing against the Texas Rangers.
At that point in the season, he had made nine starts.
Seattle decided to move him to the 10-day IL, and initially, there were no concerns of any long-term problems.
Dunn returned about two weeks later and made a start against the Cleveland Indians on June 11
It was his worst start of the season, and in retrospect, that likely wasn’t a coincidence.
The Boston College product probably wasn’t pitching at 100 percent.
Despite that, he stayed in the rotation for another start.
In his next outing, he looked sharper, but unfortunately, he exited after just two innings due to a reaggravation of the shoulder injury.
That sparked his second IL stint, and he has remained on the IL since.
His last MLB start came on June 17.
Just When Things Looked To Be Moving In The Right Direction, Dunn Left His Rehab Start After Only 4 Pitches
We last saw Dunn on a big-league mound exactly three months ago today.
For a while, updates were sparse on the 25-year-old’s timeline for a potential return.
But finally, a couple of weeks ago, we got word that he was making progress.
Shortly thereafter, he completed a simulated game and reportedly felt “fine” once it was done.
That opened the door for a second simulated game, which he completed on September 13.
All reports were positive in the days following.
With everything moving in the right direction, Seattle sent the former first-round pick to Triple-A Tacoma for a rehab assignment on Thursday.
For fans following Dunn’s recovery, excitement was high.
But unfortunately, he left his rehab outing with a trainer after just four pitches.
It looked like his right shoulder was giving him discomfort.
That’s the same shoulder he has been nursing for the past few months.
That’s all the information we have right now.
Not good. Justin Dunn leaving with the trainer after 4 pitches. pic.twitter.com/eCyH8SaThe
— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) September 17, 2021
It’s never good to speculate about injuries, but given the amount of time left in the season, Thursday’s setback was presumably the nail in the coffin on Dunn’s year.
The Mariners are fading in the AL Wild Card race, and there’s no reason to risk the long-term health of the righty.
It’s a tough situation for Dunn.
He was working on a really solid year before the shoulder issue emerged.
If he is indeed done for the season, he’s going to finish with a 3.75 ERA over 11 MLB starts.
Of those 11 starts, he allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of them.
Justin Dunn, 94mph Fastball (foul) and 81mph Slider (Sword/K), Overlay. pic.twitter.com/QpEvgGOYwu
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 15, 2021
His year wasn’t perfect (command issues were prevalent at times), but he gave fans a lot to be excited about.
The hope is that he will bounce back in 2022 and look like his best self again.