Mariners shutting down Zych for final week

Reliever dealing with elbow issue; Ramirez could make 2018 rotation

Mariners shutting down Zych for final week

SEATTLE -- Mariners reliever Tony Zych, who had been attempting to return after being sidelined since Aug. 19 with a right elbow issue, instead will be shut down for the final week of the season, manager Scott Servais said on Saturday.

The 27-year-old right-hander went 6-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 40 2/3 innings over 45 outings this season after returning from biceps tendon transfer surgery last winter, but he dealt with the elbow and forearm issue over the past month.

"There's no surgery or anything involved right now," Servais said. "Just some inflammation in the forearm that has been bugging him a little. This isn't anything that should stop him from working out and being ready for Spring Training."

Zych pitched in only 12 games in 2016 due to his shoulder issues, but he re-established himself as a solid power arm in the bullpen this year, and he figures in the Mariners' plans going forward.

"He threw really well for a nice chunk of the season and worked his way into a prominent role there," Servais said. "He was kind of our guy to get us out of trouble in the sixth inning and maybe go back out for the seventh."

Zych is under Mariners team control for four more seasons, and he won't be arbitration eligible until 2019.

Ramirez 10 K's in 10 seconds

Ramirez looks like rotation candidate

When the Mariners acquired Erasmo Ramirez from the Rays on July 28, the plan was that he could be a starter or bullpen option down the road. But the right-hander has shown well enough in the rotation -- capped by Friday's eight-inning gem in a 3-1 win over the Indians -- that Servais feels he's a definite starting option next season.

"I'm very comfortable with him starting," Servais said. "Why wouldn't you be, with what he's shown us he can do, getting through good lineups. We didn't know quite what we were getting. You don't know until you see the guy, and can he work through it and how do the pitches sequence together?

"I've been very impressed with what I've seen. Going forward, why wouldn't he be a guy we'd look to have in our rotation? I think he can carry the innings load over the course of a season. He certainly looks strong enough. But we'll see what happens."

Worth noting

• Pending how things go the rest of the weekend, Servais said the plan for now is to go with Felix Hernandez on Monday, James Paxton on Tuesday and Ramirez on Wednesday against the A's in Oakland.

"That's the plan right now," Servais said. "We'll see how guys are feeling. Pax felt really good yesterday and much better with how the ball was coming out, so he definitely wants to keep going."

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.