Mariners reliever David Phelps recovering from arthroscopic elbow surgery

Phelps had a bone spur removed from the back of his elbow, but is expected to be ready by spring training

David Phelps rotated his right arm to display the back of his elbow. It revealed three separate small incisions, each stitched neatly. They were remnants of a procedure that he hopes will leave him pain free and available all of next season.

The Mariners reliever underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his elbow last Wednesday to remove a bone spur from the back of his elbow that had been causing discomfort and forced him to the disabled list twice in the last two months.

“That’s the hope,” he said. “All signs pointed to that when I went in and had the MRI and x-ray. It showed pretty clearly that where I was having the single pain was right where it was.”

The spur was a piece of bone from Phelps’ elbow that had fractured off.

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“It wasn’t floating,” he said. “It had detached and from the scan it looked like it was trying to reattach itself to the bone, which is insane to think about.”

Dr. David Altchek performed the surgery in New York. Phelps is now back rehabbing with the Mariners medical staff.

“It feels good right now,” Phelps said. “I’m just working on range of motion and getting strength back. Six to eight weeks is the recovery so I will have a normal offseason. It was a more a clean up than anything.”

The Mariners acquired Phelps just before the trade deadline from the Marlins to serve as a late-inning set-up man with Nick Vincent. He made 10 appearances, posting a 2-1 record with a 3.12 ERA. But pain in the back of the elbow that never allowed him to fully extend on pitches put him on the disabled list on Aug. 8 after he exited an outing in Baltimore the day before.  He rehabbed the elbow and came back and made two appearances but the same discomfort returned. He was placed on the DL on Sept. 1.

From a mental standpoint, Phelps has found peace in finding the cause of his discomfort and having a solution.

“You’re feeling something and you go in have a MRI or a CT or x-ray or whatever and you see that there is actually something there,” he said. “I think that was the reassuring part. The arm is stable. The ligament is good and everything is else is good. It’s just frustrating with the timing, obviously. I will be ready to go…

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