KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It is never a good thing to see a pitcher motion toward the dugout for a trainer in the middle of a game, but during the opener of the Mariners’ doubleheader against the Royals on Sunday, reliever David Phelps knew it was something he needed to do.
“There are radar guns around the stadium. I look up and see I am throwing 90 mph and I know the ball is not coming out,” he said in the clubhouse hours later following Game 2. “The last pitch I was, ‘Let’s stand on this one a little bit,’ and it was at that extension when I felt it.”
The “it” he referred to was a tightness in the back of his elbow. Phelps revealed he has been dealing with discomfort in recent days. Warming up, he has been fine. But when he steps to the mound in the game, the story has been different.
“As soon as I get in the game, a little tight,” he said. “I can tell the ball is not coming out, stuff hasn’t really been the same. In the past I have pitched through things until I have broken my arm. I thought it was better to let them come out. The training staff has known about it, we have done treatment. We will see the doc and see.”
What he felt Sunday was not overly concerning, but enough to tell him it was best to stop.
“There was no pop, nothing like that,” he said. “Last time out, there was just tightness in the back, just more in the bone. I’ve had a litany of elbow injuries, nothing that has forced me to not throw. I’ve been playing catch, warming up in the bullpen. The command is there, but I can tell the ball is not coming out the way I want it to.”
Phelps has never had an elbow surgery but has in the past suffered forearm strains and a broken forearm. He will see team doctors Monday in Seattle and go from there.
“Where we are at as a team right now, I figure it is better to try and nip it than try and go out an be a hero and cost us some games,” he said.