Drew Smyly’s ‘soggy’ elbow could pour water on Mariners’ hopes this season

After he showed flashes of brilliance at the World Baseball Classic, it looked like the Mariners’ rotation could be something special. If Smyly has to spend time on the shelf, the M’s depth will be tested.

Less than a week before the season starts, and suddenly the Mariners don’t have the soggiest idea of the status of Drew Smyly.

This falls somewhere between a crisis and an inconvenience, the ultimate lean depending on the diagnosis of Dr. Edward Khalfayan, which should be known Friday. Considering that starting-pitching depth was already among the Mariners’ biggest concerns, Khalfayan’s word on Smyly might well be a harbinger of hope or despair for a fan base conditioned to expect the worst.

What’s especially disheartening is that Smyly, at age 27, seemed poised for the breakout that many have expected from him for years, but which he’s delivered only in spurts. Pencil in a consistent Smyly to a Mariners rotation that has questions up and down the line, and suddenly the outlook looks much brighter.

But then came Wednesday’s ominous news, delivered in utterly unique fashion by Scott Servais, who became the first manager in major-league history — I’m taking this on faith — to describe a pitcher’s ailment as “a soggy” left arm.

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Maybe he was just playing to his audience back home, which has endured a record amount of rainfall in February and March. Perhaps other managers will follow his lead on this. San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy can lament a pitcher’s foggy arm, Los Angeles’ Dave Roberts a smoggy arm, New York’s Joe Girardi or Terry Collins a groggy arm (hey, it’s the city that never sleeps), and Oakland’s Bob Melvin, mindful of his team’s sewage-spewing ballpark, a cloggy arm.

The Mariners’ best-case scenario has to be that Smyly is suffering from what has traditionally been called a dead arm, an annual byproduct of spring…

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