Drew Smyly to miss 6-8 weeks with strained elbow flexor

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners left-handed pitcher is expected to miss 6-8 weeks due to a flexor strain in his left elbow, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday.

Smyly was scratched from his final spring training start on Friday with what manager Scott Servais told reporters was an arm that felt "soggy."

Now the Mariners will be a missing a member of their rotation for two months.

"Minimally we know he was a flexor strain in his left elbow and we're going to continue to gather medical information in the coming days and try to make the best decisions we can," Dipoto said. "We don't think this is going to result in a surgical intervention, but more rest and rehab. We do anticipate this not being a short-term thing. This is probably a 6-8 week stretch that we're going to be without Drew.

"When he made us aware of the fact that he was experiencing some elbow discomfort, we acted both aggressively and conservatively. We're going to handle this conservatively. Because as you know, we acquired Drew, we gave up a package of players to get him with the idea that this guy really fits our ballpark, our team and he fits us for more than 2017. So we want to make sure that we're doing the right thing for Drew."

Smyly is seeking additional opinions on the issue and is not currently in camp with the team.

"My glass half-full way of looking at this is sometime around the start of June we're anticipating acquiring Drew Smyly again to rejoin our rotation and help us get over the hump," Dipoto said.

Dipoto wouldn't say that Smyly's appearance in the World Baseball Classic was a contributing factor to Smyly's injury, but noted he was a different player when he got back."

"He was throwing great when he got to camp," Dipoto said. "He was throwing great when he left for, and threw, we all watched it, the WBC and his outing against Venezuela. And good, bad or indifferent, he just hasn't been quite the same since he got back.

"It's impossible to say. Injury is injury and it can happen at any time and any place. It's hard to point the finger back. I'd rather look forward and figure out how we create a solution rather than placing blame."

In Smyly's place, the Mariners will recall Ariel Miranda from Triple-A Tacoma and slot him in to Smyly's spot in the rotation. Miranda will start game four of the season against the Astros in Houston.

"He earned it last year," Dipoto said. "What he did for us last year, the starts that he made down the stretch, you could argue that for the last six weeks of the season he was the most consistent starter that we had. ... When we optioned Ariel to Tacoma, it was with the understanding that he was our sixth starter."

Miranda will start Seattle's final spring training game against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday and is expected to throw five innings to get back stretched out. Miranda had thrown just two bullpen sessions and had not pitched in a game since being optioned to the minors last Saturday.

"It's obviously what I wanted," Miranda said through of a translator of his chance to rejoin the major league rotation. "I've just got to focus on doing my job in the rotation and I'm happy that the club kept me in mind for when the situation arose. Now I just have to focus on getting the job done."

Photo Credit: SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 15:  Drew Smyly #34 of the United States pitches during the first inning of the World Baseball Classic Pool F Game Two between Venezuela and the United States at PETCO Park on March 15, 2017 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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