Mariners' bullpen reeling after David Phelps tears UCL
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By JOSE M. ROMERO
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) David Phelps was ready to be a primary setup man for the Seattle Mariners ahead of closer Edwin Diaz this season. Manager Scott Servais is going to have to look elsewhere for that role now.
Phelps will have season-ending Tommy John surgery on Monday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He was injured on the final pitch of his most recent outing on March 17 against the Los Angeles Angels.
Phelps was acquired from Miami last July and then did two stints on the disabled list for right elbow impingements. He had surgery in September to remove a bone spur from the elbow.
"I'd been feeling pretty good all spring, I finally felt locked in that last outing. I was throwing my fastball where I wanted to," Phelps said. "Second to last pitch is when I felt something. Threw another one. ... I thought I felt a crack in the back of my elbow. I was hopeful maybe it was just scar tissue from my (September) surgery. Turns out what I thought was a crack was a pop."
Phelps got two opinions and both confirmed the diagnosis. Following surgery, Phelps will do his rehab work in Seattle. The recovery time is typically 12 to 15 months.
"I'd never had any UCL issues before," Phelps said. "It's incredibly frustrating. You came back from a surgery and you're healthy and you're really looking forward to helping the ball club win some games. We've got a really talented group out there. I was looking forward to being a part of it."
Phelps, 31, was 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 10 appearances after being acquired from Miami. When healthy, he added experience and depth to an overworked Mariners bullpen. He helped Seattle go 6-1 in the first seven games in which he pitched.
"It's a blow. That's one of the things I was excited about with our club," Servais said of his bullpen. "Felt very good about the group. Fortunately we've had some guys step up this spring."
NOTES: SS Jean Segura's sprained right thumb is well enough to allow him to hit in the batting cage, which he did Thursday. Servais hopes to get him back into a game on Saturday. ... Suzuki will play in a minor league game Friday as he gets back to 100 percent from a right calf injury. ... Servais said he hopes to finalize the opening day roster by this weekend.
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Updated March 22, 2018