More spring training hi-jinks for the M’s as the team heads toward opening day Monday. The first, and most concerning is the state of Drew Smyly’s arm. He was pulled from his scheduled bullpen session because his arm didn’t feel right. Manager Scott Servais characterized it as “soggy,” which wasn’t an adjective I’ve heard applied to arms. Maybe my lawn, newspapers, or cheese sandwiches, but not a pitcher’s throwing instrument.
Scratched from his final spring training start Friday, Servais explained Smyly would be examined by a doctor. However, he refused to be painted into a corner about when Drew might return to the rotation. If he’s unable to go for his first regular season start, scheduled for April 6th, the M’s will likely go to Tacoma for left-hander Ariel Miranda, optioned to the Rainiers on Saturday. Another possibility is Dillon Overton, another left-hander, who has had a solid spring and is still in major league camp.
Continuing in the same vein, the M’s have shelved right-handed reliever Shae Simmons with a strained forearm flexor. While there isn’t any structural damage, it is a setback for the hard-throwing reliever. Simmons figured to be a hard throwing piece in the Mariners bullpen to complement Edwin Diaz.
Servais suggested patience and caution were required to insure Simmons contribution to the Mariners in 2017. “It’s a flexor strain and we’ll be a little cautious. It’s not progressing as our medical people had hoped, so we’re going to slow him down a little bit,” Servais said.
Simmons came to the M’s in a trade with Atlanta on January 11. He spent all of 2015 and part of 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Rest is the prescribed treatment and no date is projected for his return.
Simmons joins Tony Zych and Steve Cishek as projected relievers who are unlikely to begin the season with the Mariners due to injury.