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March 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Mariners relief pitcher Josh Kinney has no clue how he suffered freak injury

Kendrys Morales and other Mariners warm up on field in Peoria, AZ this morning.

Kendrys Morales and other Mariners warm up on field in Peoria, AZ this morning.

Players are taking the field for their morning stretch here in Peoria. Michael Saunders will be among them, having returned to camp fresh off his Pool MVP honors for Canada at the World Baseball Classic. Larry Stone did a nice feature piece on Saunders for Monday’s paper, so I won’t recap everything he wrote here. But Saunders clearly got a lot out of the experience and getting to hang with guys like Justin Morneau and Joey Votto.

One thing Saunders also enjoyed was seeing the team get featured on the Coach’s Corner segment of Hockey Night in Canada, which would be like finding yourself on Monday Night Football in the U.S. Unless you grow up in Canada, it’s tough to grasp the significance of it, but the CBC Saturday night segment is a part of the country’s culture — for better or for worse — and former Boston Bruins coach Don Cherry has for 30 years been the go-to guy north of the border for all things fighting.

So, naturally, Cherry wanted to offer his two cents (CDN) on the Canada-Mexico brawl from Saturday afternoon.

“That was great,” Saunders said. “I loved it.”

Saunders had a gleam in his eye when he described the brawl, saying his teammates acquitted themselves quite well given their hockey backgrounds and sheer size.

“Put it this way,” he said. “We posed for the team photo and I was in the front because I was one of the smaller guys,” the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Saunders said.

Moving on, the Mariners made a minor cut this morning, optioning left-hander Anthony Fernandez to Class AA Jackson.

On the more pressing pitching side, right-handed relief pitcher Josh Kinney was working out with a hand weight this morning to try to keep his throwing arm strong. Kinney has been shut down from throwing for the next three weeks because of a “stress reaction” injury to a rib on his non-throwing side.

Kinney admits he has no clue how the injury happened. Nor do the Mariners, who will likely start the year with Kinney on the 15-day DL while he works his way back into throwing shape — assuming three weeks takes care of the problem.

“I drove out from Missouri and my back was kind of stiff,” Kinney said. “Just the muscles in my upper back. I didn’t really think anything of it to be honest with you. I got four or five days into camp and it was still stiff. We were getting treatment, getting it adjusted from the chiropractor and it just wasn’t really going away. I kept doing my stuff and it didn’t really affect me running or throwing. No big deal. But it just never got better. It got to the point where it was getting worse.”

Kinney pushed through it for two Cactus League outings. But then, in a third, he couldn’t do it anymore and had to go get an MRI.

“It’s up high on my left side,” he said of the stress reaction.

Kinney said he’s looked at the internet for possible explanations of the injury. But so far, there’s been nothing conclusive discovered.

“They think it’s from wear and tear, increasing the activity on your cleats and throwing,” he said.

For now, the Mariners will have to go in another direction if they opt for experience from the right side in their bullpen. Kameron Loe would seem a lock to make the squad at this point, as long as he doesn’t implode this spring.

One guy who isn’t a lock is Blake Beavan, in a tight battle with Erasmo Ramirez, Jon Garland and Brandon Maurer for the final couple of rotation spots. Beavan had a strong showing in a simulated game on Monday, though he admits to feeling the pressure of the internal competition at camp a lot more than he did a year ago.

“There was more of a comfort level,” he said. “Because you pretty much knew you were on the team, even if you had a few bad outings. This spring, there’s no guarantee of anything. It makes a real difference when you go out there. You feel like you’re pitching for your job.”

March 12, 2013 – Peoria Stadium

Seattle Mariners (11-5)


Arizona Diamondbacks (6-9-1)


Player Pos.  


Player Pos.


Jason Bay RF


Adam Eaton (L) CF


Dustin Ackley (L) 2B


Cliff Pennington (S) SS


Kendrys Morales (S) 1B


A.J. Pollock RF


Justin Smoak (S) DH


Paul Goldschmidt 1B


Eric Thames (L) LF


Eric Hinske (L) DH


Jesus Montero C


Alfredo Marte LF


Brad Miller (L) 3B


Mark Teahen (L) 3B


Julio Morban (L) CF


Wil Nieves C


Brendan Ryan SS


Josh Wilson 2B

Starting Pitcher

Starting Pitcher


Felix Hernandez RHP


Patrick Corbin LHP

Comments | More in spring training | Topics: michael saunders; brawl; josh kinney; blake beavan


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