Smith will be held out of most defensive drills and will be limited to a throwing program to allow the sore elbow to get healthy.
PEORIA, Ariz. — When the entire Mariners spring-training roster takes the field Saturday morning for the first full-squad workout, the team’s projected everyday center fielder will be limited in his participation.
Mallex Smith, whom the team reacquired from the Rays this past offseason in a five-player trade that featured catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Guillermo Heredia, is dealing with discomfort in his right elbow and won’t be participating in any drills that require throwing.
“Mallex, probably about three weeks ago, got a little soreness in his throwing arm,” manager Scott Servais said Friday morning. “So he will probably be a little bit slow to get going for us.”
Smith was doing some throwing drills in Florida, trying to build arm strength and address what some scouts view as a defensive weakness. However, the early work left his elbow ailing. The Mariners don’t want to make the elbow worse and risk a torn ulnar collateral ligament or anything that might require surgery.
“We are going to slow-play him,” Servais said. “He got a little overzealous and tried to do a little throwing right out of the chute, which probably isn’t the greatest idea. He’s going to be slow to the start here in the drills and outfield plays.”
Servais hopes the elbow issues won’t keep Smith from the swinging the bat and working on his hitting.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I think you’ll see him swinging in the cage and doing some things like that and hitting on the field, but not so much defensively.”
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The limitations could carry into early Cactus League games, which start Feb. 21. Servais said one-time top prospect Kyle Lewis, former UW standout Braden Bishop and recently acquired outfielders Dom Thompson-Williams and Jake Fraley could see time in center field. The Mariners also brought in veteran minor-league outfielder Tito Polo on a free-agent contract.
Mariners shortstop prospect recovering from knee surgery
General manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed via text message that young shortstop prospect Juan Querecuto recently underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and will be out until June.
Querecuto, 18, posted a pic of himself on crutches with the knee heavily wrapped and in a brace on his Instagram story.
Dipoto said the club became aware of the knee issue a few weeks ago and decided that surgery was the best course of action. Querecuto signed as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela in the 2017 international signing period.
A talented defensive player with some speed, the Mariners gave Querecuto a $1.225 million signing bonus. After becoming eligible to participate in minor-league games as a 17-year-old, Querecuto played in 64 games in the Dominican Summer League, posting a .243/.331/.329 slash line with eight doubles, two triples, three homers, 29 RBI and three stolen bases. He was rated as the No. 15 prospect in the Mariners organization by MLB Pipeline in last year’s rankings.