By Seattle Mariners
SEATTLE -- Drew Smyly, who was acquired to be a major part of this year's Mariners rotation, instead will not throw a pitch for Seattle this season and perhaps next as the club announced Wednesday the left-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery next week.
Smyly, 28, has been sidelined since late in Spring Training with an elbow issue, but appeared finally close to returning to game action until feeling further pain in his left arm following a 25-pitch simulated inning on Saturday.
"I feel bad for Drew," manager Scott Servais said. "I know how excited he was when we acquired him to get a chance to pitch in Seattle and to be part of the team. He certainly did everything he could to try to get back with us, doing all the treatments and procedures to try to figure it out."
Tests on Tuesday revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for July 6 by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. The Mariners said typical recovery time for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, and he'll do his rehab work near his offseason home in Dallas.
"Coming out of the simulated game, I thought it was OK for the first time being out there," Servais said. "It didn't wow you with the stuff, but coming in after that, he mentioned to our trainers he didn't feel all that great. I just figured typical soreness, trying to stay positive with the whole thing. The doctors took some more looks at it, and this is where it's headed."
Smyly was the last major addition in a busy offseason for general manager Jerry Dipoto, acquired in a three-team swap on Jan. 11 in which the Mariners also acquired reliever Shae Simmons from the Braves. Simmons has also yet to pitch for Seattle while dealing with a right elbow strain of his own.
Seattle also acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from the Braves, then sent him to the Rays as part of a four-player deal for Smyly. The Mariners also gave up a trio left-handed prospects in Luiz Gohara, Thomas Burrows and Ryan Yarbrough along with Minor League shortstop Carlos Vargas in the deals. Smyly is making $6.85 million this year. He will be in his final season of arbitration eligibility next year before becoming a free agent at the end of the 2018 season.
Smyly looked extremely sharp early in Spring Training and was outstanding in a start for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, but his elbow was sore from that point on and he went on the disabled list just before the start of the regular season.
The Mariners also have seen Felix Hernandez, James Paxton and Hisashi Iwakuma spend time on the DL this year, but Smyly never even got started. He pitched a career-high 175 1/3 innings for the Rays in 2016, posting a 4.88 ERA that was well above his 3.24 career mark entering that year.
The Mariners felt he'd be an excellent addition to their rotation, with a chance to excel at Safeco Field.
"No doubt, that's why we gave up good players to get him," Servais said. "We certainly thought he was a great fit for our club and where he was at in his career to kind of take the next step and pitch in our ballpark. I thought it was going to be a home run, it just never materialized. The WBC and a lot of other stuff happened. Injuries happen. They're part of the game."
Iwakuma still on hold
Servais said he had no update on Iwakuma's status as the veteran right-hander was pulled off his rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma last week and has yet to throw off the mound since rejoining the club.
"He needs to feel good, the shoulder feeling OK and mechanically be OK where the ball is coming out good," Servais said. "And he's got to be able to get hitters out. We're a little ways away from getting him back on a rehab yet. He has to get back on the mound first. He has to feel good about where the shoulder is at."
The Mariners outrighted right-hander Pat Light to Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday after he cleared waivers, which opens a spot on Seattle's 40-man rotation. The 26-year-old has appeared in two games in relief for the Rainiers since being claimed off waivers from the Pirates on June 17, allowing four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. The 40-man roster is now at 39.