Mariners release Kelly Shoppach

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Seattle released Kelly Shoppach after designating the veteran catcher for assignment last week.

Shoppach was let go when the Mariners called up last year’s No. 3 overall pick, Mike Zunino, from Triple-A to take over as the starting catcher.

Shoppach hit just .196 in 35 games for the Mariners, but he’s always been stretched when asked to play regularly and is much better suited for a part-time role focused mostly on starting against left-handed pitchers. For his career Shoppach has hit .261 with an .856 OPS versus lefties compared to .204 with a .656 OPS versus righties, so it shouldn’t be surprising if he’s back in the majors soon with another backup gig.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.