Elias headed home for MRI, could be done for year

Elias, RoenisRookie southpaw Roenis Elias will fly back to Seattle on Thursday to have an MRI test on his left elbow after experiencing some stiffness in his last start and likely is done for this season, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon indicated on Wednesday.

Elias has tigntness in his flexor bundle, according to the club, which hopes to learn more after the 25-year-old returns to Seattle.

Elias said he felt some discomfort after throwing a changeup, but didn’t call McClendon to the mound. Instead, the manager and trainer saw something of concern and his night was done. Now the final two starts of Elias’ season are in jeopardy with McClendon saying Wednesday he’s “most likely” finished.

Elias is 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA in 29 starts and his 163 2/3 innings are the third-most of any rookie in the Majors this year behind the 165 of Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura and Tampa Bay’s Jake Odoorizzi. He’s 3-4 with a 2.31 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break, but the Mariners had been carefully monitoring his workload and giving him extra rest whenever possible.

“He’s had a heck of a year,” McClendon said. “He’s had a tremendous second half. He’s done a wonderful job and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. He’s everything we thought he was going to be.”

Elias had been slated to start again Sunday in Houston, but McClendon said he’s not sure yet who’ll fill that spot and indicated the rotation could be juggled following the Angels series finale Thursday. Rookie Taijuan Walker, the Mariners top pitching prospect, is the logical fill-in as he’s been working in the bullpen since being added as a September callup.

Walker has thrown three games in relief since Sept. 1, allowing three runs and 10 hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings to put his season ERA at 2.96 in six outings. The Mariners wouldn’t necessarily have to wait until Sunday to slot Walker in since he’s fresh, having thrown just two innings since Sept. 7.

It’s possible they could pitch Walker in any of the upcoming games in Houston and give the other starters an extra day of rest as the club sets up for its final stretch run.

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