Smith is dealing with elbow and forearm discomfort in his throwing arm.
PEORIA, Ariz. — The Mariners will not take any chances with the sore right throwing arm of outfielder Mallex Smith, who is expected to be their everyday starter in center field. With the first full squad workout beginning on Saturday morning, Smith was expected to be a spectator for most of it. And that will continue for at least seven to 10 days, if not more.
“He’s going to miss some time in camp,” manager Scott Servais said Saturday morning. “There’s no question about that. I’m not sure how much time. I know the doctors looked at him yesterday. He’s going through his physical today so I haven’t got the complete update yet. But I don’t expect to see him out there doing much throwing for the next couple of weeks. We really want to let this thing calm down.”
Would this affect a timeline for Smith to be ready to play in the two-game series in Japan or even the home opener in Seattle?
“I don’t know right now,” Servais said. “I don’t know if you are going to have a good idea until he picks up a ball again. We’re just trying to let it calm down. From what I understand, it’s not a ligament issue. It’s more of a muscle mass, flexor mass in his forearm which is a good thing.”
Smith didn’t seem overly concerned about the injury. He even made a joke about scouts’ 20-80 scale for measuring players’ abilities and his own limitations.
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“It’s a little gimpy, a setback,” he said. “I was trying to build up an 80 arm overnight and had a little setback. It will be OK.”
Smith has never had any arm issues in the past, so how did it happen?
“When I was throwing, I kind of over-exhausted it,” Smith said. “I just kind of wore it out while I was throwing and came back a little too soon and tried to ramp it up a little bit too much. But just a minor setback. I shouldn’t be out too long.”
The limited workouts won’t include swinging a bat for the first few days.
“I will be moving my lower extremities,” he said. “I can walk and talk and breathe and those little things.”
When will he be cleared to resume hitting?
“Soon,” he said.
With Smith sidelined, the Mariners will have Mitch Haniger get a few more reps in center field than usual as a precaution. Haniger is comfortable in center. He appeared in 35 games in center field last season, starting 26. The Mariners will also use Smith’s absence to audition several young prospects in Cactus League games.
“We’ve got all kinds of young guys around,” Servais said. “We are the camp of opportunity. We have a camp full of guys that are dying to get the chance to get out and play so we’ll see what they bring. Certainly, Haniger has played some center field for us. So we’ll give him some reps early on. But more importantly you’ll see Jake Fraley, Kyle Lewis, DTW — that’s what I’m calling Dom Thompson-Williams, you’ll see a bunch of different guys out there. Braden Bishop obviously plays center field. You’ll see some opportunity for those young guys to show what they’ve got right out of the chute.”
Right-handed pitcher Max Povse is dealing with a sore right shoulder. He has yet to throw off the mound this spring. He will begin a throwing program next week.
Utility player Orlando Calixte, who signed as a minor-league free agent, will not report to camp on time. He is dealing with visa issues in the Dominican Republic.