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

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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.