Elias could return in 'pen role

Lefty to get MRI results on elbow Monday; Mariners may skip Young's next start

Elias could return in 'pen role

HOUSTON -- Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias will receive word Monday on the MRI test results on his left elbow, and manager Lloyd McClendon said it's still possible he'll pitch this season, but not likely as a starter.

Elias was sent back to Seattle after feeling some tightness in his elbow in the fourth inning of his Tuesday start in Anaheim. But with Elias having already thrown 163 2/3 innings in his first season in the Majors, McClendon feels the lefty has reached his limit for the year.

Could he still be used in the remaining week, if his tests don't show any significant problems?

"That's a good question. I'm not sure," McClendon said before Sunday's game against the Astros. "Maybe bullpen, but I think we've probably maxed him out as far as his innings as a starter this year. We have to think about his future and he's been stressed. It's highly unlikely we'll see him as a starter."

But even that use would be very limited as there's no thought of using him in long relief.

"I certainly think he's more than capable, if we decide to put him in the bullpen, of getting a lefty out in a big situation," McClendon said.

Taijuan Walker has moved into Elias' spot and will start again Wednesday in Toronto after picking up the win Friday against the Astros. The Mariners face a decision on veteran Chris Young, who also appears to be hitting a late-season wall and gave up seven runs and four home runs in three-plus innings in a 10-1 loss Saturday.

"We're talking," McClendon said of whether Young will stay in his slotted Thursday start against the Blue Jays. "We haven't come to any decision as of yet. We'll see."

With Elias out of the picture, the only options would appear to be Erasmo Ramirez -- who has been erratic of late and has a 5.15 ERA after allowing a three-run homer in relief Saturday -- or going with a bullpen day, with long reliever Tom Wilhelmsen getting a spot start.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.