Mariners lose reliever David Phelps for season with torn UCL

Mar 21, 2018, 9:14 PM | Updated: 10:44 pm

David Phelps will undergo Tommy John surgery, his second elbow surgery since  last year. (AP)...

David Phelps will undergo Tommy John surgery, his second elbow surgery since last year. (AP)


For the second year in a row, the Mariners have lost a pitcher for the season in the final stretch of spring training.

This time it is right-handed reliever David Phelps, who sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament on his last pitch against the Angels last Saturday. He will undergo Tommy John surgery, the same procedure former Mariners pitcher Drew Smyly underwent in 2017 after he was injured late in spring training.

Mariners indicate Felix gets first shot at opening day start

Smyly never pitched in a regular season game for the Mariners, eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery after a failed attempt to rehab his initial injury. And while Phelps did appear in 10 games last year for Seattle after being acquired from the Miami Marlins, it’s easy to see a similarity between the two cases. The typical recovery time for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, and Phelps will be a free agent after the season, meaning he will have made a limited impact on the field for Seattle before his contract is up.

Following surgery, Phelps will do his rehab work in Seattle with the Mariners.

Phelps, 31, hit the disabled list with an elbow impingement in early August 2017, and he was out of action again by September, making just three appearances in between his two DL stints. He underwent elbow surgery late in the season to remove bone chips.

Phelps had a 2-1 record with a 3.12 ERA and three holds in his time with the M’s, and was 4-5 with a 3.40 ERA and 21 holds over 54 combined appearances with Seattle and Miami.

The injury to Phelps, who figured to be in the mix as a right-handed set-up man with Juan Nicasio and Nick Vincent, will provide an opportunity for a competition for the final bullpen spot out of spring training. It may also present a chance for Dan Altavilla, who has been a standout this spring, to get more high-leverage appearances than initially planned.

Vogelbach could make roster out of camp even with Healy healthy

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Mostly Sunny
High 68° | Low 47°
No game today.

Brent Stecker

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodríguez...

Brent Stecker

Can you believe in first-place Mariners? 3 stats that say you can

The Seattle Mariners are first in the AL West, but their record is the least impressive of MLB's six division leaders. Is this sustainable? Three stats may convince you.

1 day ago

Seattle Mariners Mitch Garver...

Brent Stecker

3 big questions after Mariners split their opening series

The Seattle Mariners are 2-2 after their first series of the season, and three questions stand out after they split with the Red Sox.

2 months ago

baseball movie Kevin Costner Field of Dreams...

Brent Stecker

Top 10: Who are the best baseball movie actors of all-time?

To determine the top 10 actors of baseball movie history, we limit the list to those who acted in as least two baseball movies.

3 months ago

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodríguez...

Brent Stecker

Mariners Odds & Ends: MLB The Show ratings, uniform notes and more

A look at some Seattle Mariners notes that have nothing to do with the box scores, including video game ratings, new hats and promotions.

3 months ago

Seattle Mariners Cade Marlowe...

Brent Stecker

Which Mariners stood out in first week of spring training games?

We break down which Seattle Mariners players have provided the highlights after a week of spring training, with plenty of video along the way.

3 months ago

Seattle Mariners trade Polanco Jorge...

Brent Stecker

Mariners Trade Breakdown: Who is new 2B Jorge Polanco?

Do the Seattle Mariners finally have their answer at second base after their trade for one-time All-Star Jorge Polanco?

4 months ago

Mariners lose reliever David Phelps for season with torn UCL