The Mariners will be without one of its top relievers this season, as David Phelps has torn his right ulnar collateral ligament, the team announced.
Phelps suffered the injury on his final pitch of his last appearance on March 17 against the Angels. The 31-year-old Phelps will undergo Tommy John surgery, which has not yet been scheduled.
Phelps came to the Mariners last year after they acquired the right-hander in a trade with the Marlins on July 20 for outfielder Brayan Hernandez and pitchers Brandon Miller, Lukas Schiraldi and Pablo Lopez. Unfortunately, Phelps wound up spending more time on the sidelines than on the field, as he was on the disabled list twice: the first time being on the 10-day DL Aug. 8 (retro to Aug. 7) to Aug. 23 with an impingement in his right elbow and the second time being on the DL from Sept. 1 to the end of the year with a right elbow posterior impingement. He only made 10 appearances, going 2–1 with three holds, a 3.12 ERA, 11 strikeouts and five walks in 8 2⁄3 innings pitched.
Phelps, who finished the year with 21 holds, a 3.40 ERA, 62 Ks and 26 BBs in 54 combined appearances with the Mariners and Marlins, had surgery in September to remove a bone spur in his elbow and looked ready to bounce back this year. He made five appearances in spring training.
Now that he is out for the year, Phelps will be placed on the 60-day DL so the M’s can fill his spot on the 40-man roster with someone else. Phelps is a free agent after this season.
As for the Mariners, it is a harsh blow to their bullpen. Phelps was supposed to help alleviate the pressure off young closer Edwin Diaz plus relievers Juan Nicasio and Nick Vincent.