SEATTLE (AP) — Drew Smyly was the centerpiece to one of Seattle’s many offseason moves by general manager Jerry Dipoto. He was a priority acquisition as a proven lefty for the rotation the Mariners believed would thrive pitching at Safeco Field.
Smyly will end his first season in Seattle never having thrown a pitch during the regular season. The Mariners announced Wednesday that Smyly will need Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
“I feel bad for Drew. I know how excited he was when we acquired him, getting a chance to pitch in Seattle, how excited he was to be part of the team,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “He did everything he could do to try and get back with us, the treatments and procedures and whatnot to figure it out.”
Smyly had been on the disabled list since opening day with a flexor strain in his left arm, an diagnosed in spring training one outing after he pitched for the United States during the World Baseball Classic. Smyly had been rehabbing in the hopes of returning after the All-Star break but Servais said Smyly came out of his last 25-pitch simulated game last weekend not feeling great and additional exams revealed the need for surgery.
The operation is scheduled for July 6 and will be performed by Dr. James Andrews. Recovery time is typically 12 to 15 months.
“Everybody was excited about getting him back but that’s obviously not going to happen,” Servais said. “I don’t want to say, ‘woe is us,’ or the ‘sky is falling.’ It is what it is and we’ve dealt with a lot of things this year and we’ll deal with this one.”
Smyly’s setback only adds to Seattle’s long list of injuries with its starting rotation. Felix Hernandez just returned after nearly two months on the disabled list. Hisashi Iwakuma has no timetable for his potential return from shoulder inflammation. James Paxton missed three weeks with a forearm strain and Yovani Gallardo was demoted to the bullpen.
Seattle has used 13 different starting pitchers and Smyly was not one of them.
“I guess it creates some clarity on where we’re going to get through the rest of the year, the guys we’ve got and how important they are,” Servais said.
Smyly was acquired in January in a multi-team deal. Seattle acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from Atlanta then packaged him in a deal with Tampa Bay the same day to land Smyly.
Smyly, 28, will be entering his final season of arbitration in 2018 and can become a free agent heading into the 2019 season.
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