Mariners right-hander David Phelps recently underwent surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times (Twitter links). That procedure will come with a recovery time of six to eight weeks, per Divish, but he’s expected to be ready to go for Spring Training in 2018.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, there’s far more troublesome news surrounding the health of right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. Evaluations on Iwakuma’s right shoulder have revealed some form of structural damage (more Twitter links from Divish), though the extent of the injury remains unclear at this time, as Iwakuma declined to specify the precise nature of his ailment. Iwakuma hopes to continue playing, but the 36-year-old will first need to ascertain the best course of treatment for his yet-unspecified injury.
Phelps, 31 next month, was acquired from the Mariners earlier this summer in exchange for a package of four prospects headlined with outfielder Brayan Hernandez. The former Yankees swingman broke out with the Marlins in a high-leverage, late-inning role in 2016 and carried that success over into his brief tenure in the Seattle bullpen this year. Phelps worked to a 3.12 ERA with 11 strikeouts against four unintentional walks through 8 2/3 innings in the Mariners’ pen before ultimately being shut down for the year. He’s arbitration-eligible this winter, so he should be a key piece for the 2018 Mariners.
Iwakuma’s future, obviously, is far murkier. The Mariners hold a $10MM club option over former All-Star, though with structural damage in his right shoulder it seems all but certain that Iwakuma will instead be bought out for $1MM. Iwakuma has spent his entire Major League career in a Mariners uniform and returned to the team as a free agent following the 2015 season. While his first year back with the club resulted in 199 innings of solid 4.12 ERA ball, he’s been limited to just 31 innings in 2017 and hasn’t pitched since May 3.