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Bryan Woo injury: Mariners’ No. 5 starter heads to IL with elbow inflammation; Emerson Hancock to fill spot

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The Seattle Mariners will be without their No. 5 starter to begin the regular season. Right-hander Bryan Woo will start the season on the injured list with elbow inflammation, the team announced Monday (per the Seattle Times). Woo had trouble warming up for a recent bullpen session. An MRI showed only inflammation and no ligament damage.

GM Justin Hollander likened the injury to the forearm inflammation that sent Woo to the injured list for 18 days last August, and the team does not expect him to miss much time. Righty Emerson Hancock will fill the No. 5 spot behind Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, and Bryce Miller to begin the season. That top three is among the best in baseball.

Woo, 24, made his MLB debut last June and threw 87 2/3 innings with 93 strikeouts and a 4.21 ERA. He had extreme platoon splits in those 87 2/3 innings: Woo held righties to a .495 OPS but got hammered to the tune of a .928 OPS by lefties. He has one of the best fastballs in the game, though he’s still working to refine his secondary pitches.

Seattle traded Robbie Ray to the San Francisco Giants for Mitch Haniger and Anthony DeSclafani over the winter, then they flipped DeSclafani to the Minnesota Twins in the Jorge Polanco trade. Ray will miss the start of the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. DeSclafani has dealt with an elbow issue this spring.

The Mariners went 88-74 and missed the postseason by one game a year ago. They’ll open the 2024 season at home against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

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