Zych close to rejoining Mariners' bullpen

Zych close to rejoining Mariners' bullpen

SEATTLE -- Reliever Tony Zych, who has been sidelined since Aug. 19 with a flexor bundle strain in his right elbow, will attempt to throw again this weekend and could still rejoin the Mariners' bullpen in the final weeks of the season, though time is running short.

Manager Scott Servais said Wednesday that the 27-year-old had an MRI exam after feeling some soreness following a bullpen session on Saturday, but there was no structural damage evident and he'll take another shot at returning soon.

"He'll throw another bullpen Saturday," Servais said. "The bullpen he threw the other day was really good [as far as his pitches], but something didn't feel quite right in there. So he got some pictures, and that was clear, so he should be good to go once he gets it ramped up again."

Zych had a tendon transfer surgery in his right shoulder last offseason after an injury-plagued 2016 and missed the first few weeks of this season, but his current issue lies in his elbow.

He has played a big role in this year's bullpen success, going 6-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 40 2/3 innings over 45 games and Servais holds out hope that Zych could still contribute.

"I'd love to get him back here soon," Servais said. "But he probably needs to throw here this weekend in a full, get-after-it bullpen."

Worth noting
• Center fielder Jarrod Dyson remained shut down with a strained right groin muscle or pelvic issue on Wednesday, with Servais indicating he'll likely try to test it again Friday with batting practice and some light running. The Mariners are off on Thursday. Dyson went on the DL from Aug. 19-31, then played just two games before being sidelined again.

"He had a little discomfort, didn't feel great," Servais said after Dyson tried to do some running Tuesday. "He's met with our doctor a couple different times. They're trying to let it calm down before he takes another go at it."

• Servais said the plan is for injured starters Felix Hernandez and James Paxton to throw about 30-35 pitches each in Friday's simulated-game situation, which could be their final step before rejoining the rotation for abbreviated starts next week if all goes well.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.