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Smyly progressing toward rehab assignment

Mariners lefty sidelined since March 30 with flexor strain
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- The Mariners made progress on Saturday to adding another reinforcement to their starting rotation.

Drew Smyly threw 50 pitches, including a 25-pitch simulated inning, on Saturday and "felt great." He's scheduled to throw two more simulated innings on June 28, and barring no setbacks, he will then go on a rehab assignment.

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SEATTLE -- The Mariners made progress on Saturday to adding another reinforcement to their starting rotation.

Drew Smyly threw 50 pitches, including a 25-pitch simulated inning, on Saturday and "felt great." He's scheduled to throw two more simulated innings on June 28, and barring no setbacks, he will then go on a rehab assignment.

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Saturday was a significant step forward for the Mariners' starting pitcher, who has been on the 60-day disabled list since March 30 with a left arm flexor strain. The left-hander hasn't made a start this season.

"I thought he looked pretty darn good," manager Scott Servais said. "Very, very encouraged with what I saw today. He's worked his tail off to try and get to this point and hopefully he continues to build upon it."

Smyly, 28, who was acquired in January in a trade with the Rays, went 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA in 30 starts for Tampa Bay last season. He's 31-27 in his career with a 3.74 ERA.

Smyly's command of his pitches is ahead of schedule, according to Mariners' pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr.

"I just wanted to get through five episodes or five outings of hitters and feel good today and get his fastball locked in and the confidence of getting back up facing hitters and feeling good tomorrow," Stottlemyre Jr. said. "But I was really surprised with his command, and the command of his fastball."

The breaking ball didn't have its usual bite, according to Stottlemyre Jr., but that will take time to regain.

"The breaking ball is going to be the last pitch to come for him, it creates just a little more tightness than all the other pitches," Stottlemyre said. "But it will come like everything else.

"He's in a good place to be able to move forward onto the next one."

And above all else, Smyly is feeling better physically each day.

"[The elbow] is feeling good," Smyly said. "It's feeling strong. I've just got to keep progressing and try to build up, but I'm encouraged at where I'm at right now."

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Mariners on Saturday.

Seattle Mariners, Drew Smyly