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Phelps plans to stay involved after surgery

Mariners reliever wants to help young pitchers as he rehabs
March 23, 2018

PEORIA, Ariz. -- David Phelps will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Monday, but the Mariners reliever said Thursday he plans to rejoin the club and help out as much as possible with some of the younger pitchers while beginning the year-long rehab process.Phelps learned Wednesday that his

PEORIA, Ariz. -- David Phelps will have Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Monday, but the Mariners reliever said Thursday he plans to rejoin the club and help out as much as possible with some of the younger pitchers while beginning the year-long rehab process.
Phelps learned Wednesday that his season was over before it began after he felt something pop in his elbow on his final two pitches in what turned out to be his last Cactus League outing on Saturday against the Angels.
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Phelps had surgery to remove a bone spur from the same elbow over the offseason after finishing last year on the disabled list, but had recovered fully from that issue and was throwing well this spring before his ulnar collateral ligament gave out on a fastball to Chris Carter to end Saturday's game.
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"It's incredibly frustrating," Phelps said. "You come back from a surgery and you're healthy and really looking forward to helping this ballclub win some games. We have a really talented group out there and I was really looking forward to being a part of it.
"Whether it's Spring Training, end of season, middle of the season, it's always frustrating when this happens. We're passionate about this game since the time we're 5 years old. Having to sit out for a full year is going to be tough."

Phelps said noted orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery, and then the reliever will assume a different role in the clubhouse.
"I love the guys in there," said the former Notre Dame standout. "And I trust the training staff here. It's part of being with the team and I also feel I have a little more to offer than just what I do on the field. I have a good relationship with some of the younger guys and whatever I can do to help, I'll do it."

Gonzales ends camp on a high note
Marco Gonzales overcame a shaky start to complete a strong five-inning outing in Seattle's 5-4 win over the Rangers on Thursday as the young southpaw continued to show he's ready to be a big part of the Mariners' rotation.
Pitching what likely will be his final Cactus League start, the 26-year-old from Gonzaga allowed two runs on five hits over five innings, with both runs and three hits coming in the first. He finished with five strikeouts and one walk and has a 1.69 ERA in six starts this spring.
"Those are great situations to be in this time of year. A little adversity and I had to make an adjustment," Gonzales said of his rocky first. "I think I was trying to be too fine at the beginning and I just got back to being me and making pitches."
Gonzales appears to have clinched the No. 4 spot in the rotation, but he's still not assuming anything. Instead, he said he's just enjoying being healthy now after spending much of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery while with the Cardinals.
"Last year, I wasn't even pitching at this point, so it's night and day," he said. "It's a beautiful thing to have a healthy arm and a beautiful thing to have an opportunity like this. So I'm not taking it for granted."

Injury updates
• Shortstop Jean Segura, sidelined since Saturday with a sprained right thumb, hit in the cage on Thursday and will take batting practice Friday before returning to Cactus League play Saturday if things go to plan.
• Left fielder Ichiro Suzuki's sore right calf still hasn't fully recovered, so he sat out Thursday after striking out in his only two at-bats on Wednesday and will now be limited to Minor League games for several days in order to get extra at-bats without having to run.
"It's more about his timing," Servais said. "We all know Ichi can play the outfield. It's more about getting him 100 percent."
• Right fielder Mitch Haniger has struggled since coming back from a sore right hand, batting .148 (4-for-27) with 13 strikeouts in his first nine games. So he went to the Minor League fields Thursday to get in extra at-bats as well.
• Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been playing long toss out to 130 feet as he works back from a strained right oblique and said he feels good. He's slated to throw a 20-pitch bullpen session Saturday in the first big step toward rejoining the rotation potentially sometime in April.

Position competition
Servais declined to speculate on whether the Mariners will keep two first basemen -- Ryon Healy and Daniel Vogelbach -- on the final roster, saying that decision likely will come by this weekend.
"We're really excited to see Ryon Healy back," Servais said. "He looks very healthy and the ball is coming off his bat great. He looks very comfortable at first base. And Vogey has had a very good spring. We'll just have to wait and see. We'll make that call on Saturday."
With Healy recovered from his hand surgery, the question is whether there's a way to keep Vogelbach on the initial 25-man roster as well after his impressive spring.
With Felix Hernandez starting Saturday night against the Cubs, Servais said that outing will help determine how the pitching staff plays out and he expects the entire 25-man roster to be finalized by Sunday. The Mariners have an off-day on Monday before their final spring game Tuesday against the Rockies at Salt River Fields, then they fly to Seattle to open the season Thursday against Cleveland.
Up next
Right-hander Casey Lawrence, a non-roster invitee making a strong case to land a long-relief spot in the Mariners' bullpen, gets the start Friday at 1:05 p.m. PT against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. The 30-year-old has allowed just one earned run in 12 innings this spring. Closer Edwin Diaz is also slated to pitch in the game, which will be available live on Gameday Audio.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.