Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto offered a health update on Smyly, who received a PRP injection in his elbow on Tuesday
HOUSTON — In the search for fleeting optimism surrounding the injury and absence of talented left-hander Drew Smyly from the starting rotation, the Mariners received somewhat positive news when a second (Friday) and third examination (Monday) by two different orthopedists yielded no changes to the original diagnosis of a strained flexor in his left elbow.
On Tuesday afternoon, general manager Jerry Dipoto provided a health update on Smyly, who was first diagnosed with the flexor strain on March 31 after feeling discomfort following his bullpen session two days prior.
“The findings were consistent with what we learned when Dr. (Edward) Khalfayan saw him down in Peoria,” Dipoto said. “Our timeline doesn’t change — six to eight weeks is what we are looking at. Six weeks until he begins throwing, eight is when we are anticipating to the point where we can make a better judgment on when he will re-join the club.”
Smyly received a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection into the injured area on Tuesday morning. A PRP injection consists of taking blood from the patient, separating the platelets from the blood cells on a centrifuge and then injecting the concentrated platelets into the affected area. Smyly will have five to seven days to recover from the injection. He’ll then begin the rehab process in Seattle.
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“We are going to react conservatively to this,” Dipoto said.”We want to make sure that when we get Drew back, we get Drew back. We don’t want to rush him back.”
It’s not impossible to envision Smyly not joining the rotation until July. The Mariners transferred him from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday and claimed right-handed reliever Evan Marshall off waivers from the Diamondbacks to fi.
“We don’t anticipate having him back in the two months, so this was simple and it allowed us some flexibility with our roster,” Dipoto said.
That flexibility was used on Marshall, who was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma after being claimed. He provides some bullpen depth on the 40-man roster with right-handers Tony Zych (shoulder), Shae Simmons (flexors bundle strain) and Steve Cishek (hip) all on the disabled list and working back from injuries.
Marshall, who turns 27 on April 18, was designated for assignment on March 28. A fourth-round pick out of Kansas State in 2011 and a reliever for his entire professional career, he’s appeared in 84 big league games and has a career 4.50 ERA. Last season, he made 15 appearances with Arizona, posting an 8.80 ERA, giving up 17 runs in 33 1/3 innings pitched. He made 33 appearances for Class AAA Reno with a 1-1 record and 4.59 ERA.
“He was actually a draft pick from my final year with the Diamondbacks,” Dipoto said. “I have some familiarity with him. He has a very heavy sinker that will touch 96 mph. His velocity will be in that 94ish range. He has a very high rate of ground balls, last year was 57 percent, which is pretty consistent with his career norm.”
Marshall had a solid 2014 season, posting a 2.74 ERA in 57 appearances for Arizona.
“We are going to see if a change of scenery can help him out,” Dipoto said. “He’s healthy. He’s throwing the ball like he always has physically. There’s been no change to the velocity. His 2014 was under the radar as one of the better, sneaky seventh inning guys in the league. He threw up a lot of holds and protected a lot of leads late in the game. Hopefully we can get him back to that status.”
Marshall’s 2015 season was cut short in August with Reno when he took a line drive off his right temple in a game in El Paso. Marshall suffered a skull fracture and underwent surgery to relieve the swelling and pressure in his cranium.