San Francisco Giants left-handed reliever Will Smith left Monday afternoon’s spring training game against the Chicago White Sox after experiencing pain in his throwing elbow. He was escorted off the mound by a trainer and after the game, it was announced he would undergo an MRI, putting the start of his 2017 season in doubt.
Smith felt something in elbow again, will have MRI. Given the time of spring, pretty clear he won't be ready for opening day.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 20, 2017
Smith arrived in San Francisco at the trade deadline last season from the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in 26 regular season games down the stretch, posting a 2.95 ERA in 18.1 innings while striking out 26 batters he faced, in addition to not yielding a home run.
Despite having debuted as a starter in 2012 as a member of the Kansas City Royals, Smith has since transformed into a late-inning left-handed reliever that has been used primarily to get out the opposition’s premier left-handed bats. In his five-year major league career, he has totaled just a single save, having led the National League in appearances as recently as 2014, despite finishing just one out of of the 13 games he pitched in.
Prior to his trade to San Francisco, Smith spent three seasons in the Brewers’ bullpen. He posted a 3.28 ERA in that span, posting a mark of 11.9 K/9 IP. He was dealt to the team in a December 2013 deal that saw outfielder Nori Aoki on the move back to Kansas City.
The Giants added to their bullpen in the off-season with the signing of closer Mark Melancon. Former stalwarts Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo both departed, leaving Smith in line for a likely increased role. If he has to begin the season on the sideline, the team will have either Steven Okert or Josh Osich in line for the left-handed relief duties.