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Mariners’ Smyly out 6-8 weeks with flexor strain

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mariners starting pitcher Drew Smyly is out six to eight weeks with a flexor strain in his left elbow, Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters Friday.

In a report by Greg Johns of MLB.com, Dipoto said Smyly is a “key loss” for right now, but believes “he’s going to contribute at some point,” after being acquired in a trade with the Rays in January for outfielder Mallex Smith. Smyly, who was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 167 strikeouts in 175 1/3 innings pitched with Tampa Bay but holds a career 31-27 record, a 3.74 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, was expected to pitch Thursday behind Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton in the rotation.

The 27-year-old Smyly had a strong start to spring training, throwing five shutout innings in two starts, and had a great first outing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic when they played Venezuela on March 15. In the WBC, he struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings.

But, Smyly had a rough outing in a Minor League game on March 21 and gave up three home runs five days later to the Reds in a spring training game.

With Smyly’s injury, which he is getting a second opinion according to Johns, Dipoto said the Mariners will recall left-hander Ariel Miranda from Triple-A Tacoma to fill Smyly’s spot and start in the Mariners’ finale of a four-game set Thursday against the Astros. Miranda was optioned to the minors last Saturday.