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Former Illini Joey Gerber released by Mariners

The Illinois great is now a free agent.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The once eighth-round selection by the Seattle Mariners in 2018 will now have the opportunity to play for a new organization, if he so chooses.

Joey Gerber was released to make room on the Mariners’ 40-man roster as he was able to clear unconditional waivers to become free agent. This move comes after Gerber missed all of the 2021, and beginning of the 2022 season rehabbing from back surgery and an apparent forearm strain.

Gerber made his MLB debut on Aug. 4, 2020, and he finished his first season with a 1–1 record and a 4.02 ERA, pitching in a little over 15 innings at the big league level. He then wouldn’t return to pitching until June 11, 2022, in a rehab start with the Mariners’ rookie-level Arizona affiliate where he pitched one inning, gave up one unearned run on two hits. Ten days later he was released.

After this move, there are now no former Illini currently in the MLB. The longtime Illinois staple in the MLB, starting pitcher Tanner Roark, is currently a free agent and hasn’t pitched since April of last year. Cody Sedlock, on the other hand, was the last Illini to touch an MLB diamond when he made his major league debut on May 29, but he shortly after was sent back down to Triple-A Norfolk.

So, there may not be any current Illini ball-players in the MLB, but there is certainly some knocking on the door. Infielder Michael Massey and pitcher Garrett Acton have both received promotions to Triple-A for their recent play. Then to round it out pitchers Ty Webber, Andy Fisher, Andrew Hoffmann, and Nathan Lavender have all been playing well so far into the 2022 season.

So, in the meantime we await upon Joey’s decision, but the MLB has officially been put on notice. The Fighting Illini have some ball-players in the wings waiting, and it’s going to be hard to keep them out.