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Simmons gets MRI on right forearm

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Shae Simmons, a hard-throwing right-hander expected to fit prominently in the Mariners' bullpen plans, will undergo an MRI test Sunday to check out stiffness in his right forearm that popped up during Saturday's 7-6 win over the Reds.

The 26-year-old had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2015, and was shut down with a forearm issue in the final weeks of last season as well. He doesn't believe this problem is related, but the Mariners are being extra cautious because of his medical past.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Shae Simmons, a hard-throwing right-hander expected to fit prominently in the Mariners' bullpen plans, will undergo an MRI test Sunday to check out stiffness in his right forearm that popped up during Saturday's 7-6 win over the Reds.

The 26-year-old had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2015, and was shut down with a forearm issue in the final weeks of last season as well. He doesn't believe this problem is related, but the Mariners are being extra cautious because of his medical past.

"Given the history, obviously," Simmons said Sunday morning prior to seeing the doctor. "I'm not too concerned about it, I think it's more muscle. And as long as it's more muscle, we can do the necessary steps to rehab and everything, and hopefully, strengthen it and get it back to where it was."

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Simmons had been a rising prospect in the Braves' system before Tommy John surgery wiped out his entire 2015 season and part of last year as well. He put up a 2.91 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings in 26 appearances after being called up in 2014, and the Mariners are hoping he's back to that form after acquiring him in January.

Mariners manager Scott Servais acknowledged the club is being extra careful.

"The preliminary is that he's going to be OK, but we want to make sure," Servais said. "We really like the pitcher, like the stuff, like his makeup and everything else. He's certainly going to help us at some point. We just want to make sure he's an option, so we're going to take it easy. You want to be overly cautious on this one."

Simmons gave up a home run to the first batter he faced when entering Saturday's game in the seventh inning, which was a rarity given he's only allowed one long ball in 148 2/3 innings in his pro career. But he says he didn't feel any problem in his arm until throwing to the third batter he faced, at which point trainer Rob Nodine hustled out and removed him from the game after Simmons began flexing his hand.

"I just threw a fastball to the last hitter, and got a little stiff is all," Simmons said. "It's the bottom of the forearm. The larger part around the flexor area just stiffened up, and there was no reason to push it at that point. We'll rest it, and see how things progress or digress, and go from there."

Simmons said he had soreness in the upper part of his forearm at the end of last year. But he recovered from that and threw bullpens after the season ended at the Braves' facility in Florida to make sure things checked out, and hadn't had any problems since.

"I thought this was going to be a normal Spring Training," he said. "Maybe this is just a little bump in the road, and everything will be fine."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Seattle Mariners, Shae Simmons