Morrow cuts bullpen session short, M’s concerned

PEORIA, Ariz. — Brandon Morrow’s tight forearm, once considered nothing to worry about, now is a concern of the Seattle Mariners.

Morrow, who went into spring training as one of the Mariners’ five starting pitchers, threw 25 pitches in the bullpen this morning and said he continued to feel discomfort in the flexor bundle in his right forearm. He walked quickly into the clubhouse after his session, followed closely by a trainer and team doctor.

“It didn’t’ go as good as I thought it would,” he said. “It felt better than it did last week, but it’s frustrating that it didn’t feel as good as I had hoped.”

Morrow hasn’t pitched in a game since March 1 and he doubts he’ll pitch Friday against the Cubs as originally scheduled.

“I don’t think I’ll pitch Friday,” he said.

More than three weeks remain before the Mariners begin the regular season, although time is running short for Morrow. Even if it is minor inflammation of the flexor bundle, he’ll need to let it subside before returning to a throwing program that would build him up to the 100-pitch range.

He said he hasn’t thought about what this setback means to his role, which has bounced between starting and relieving the past two years.

Last winter, the Mariners had him pitch in Venezuela in order to convert him into a starter, but they moved him back into a relief role when spring training began. He suffered shoulder soreness midway through spring training and didn’t join the Mariners until mid-April.

Midway through the season, the Mariners sent him to Class AAA Tacoma to convert him back to a starter, and he made five starts at the end of the season. The Mariners considered moving Morrow back to the bullpen again this season after they traded away closer J.J. Putz, but decided to leave him in a starting role.

Now, there’s a chance he won’t be ready to begin the season.

“I wasn’t trying to push it or test it too much, but there was tightness there and it’s frustrating,” Morrow said of his bullpen session today. “I just threw fastball-changeup. I felt it most on the changeup because those are the fingers that the inflamed areas are attached to. I didn’t cut it short. It just didn’t feel as good as I’d hoped.”

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