Nate Robertson out four weeks after surgery to remove “loose bodies” from elbow


Nate Robertson was a long shot to claim a spot in the Mariners’ rotation to begin with, but whatever slim chance he had is now gone with news that he’ll be sidelined for at least a month following surgery to remove “loose bodies” from his elbow.

Robertson signed a minor-league contract with Seattle after posting a 5.95 ERA in 101 innings for the Marlins and Phillies last season and hasn’t been effective and healthy in the same season since 2007.

Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, and Doug Fister are locks for the Mariners’ rotation, with Erik Bedard joining them if healthy. Now that Robertson is totally out of the mix Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that David Pauley, Luke French, and 22-year-old stud prospect Michael Pineda are the three finalists for the No. 5 starter gig.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.