Smyly likely will miss six to eight weeks with a flex strain in his left elbow, a big blow after the Mariners' roster seemed set for the start of the regular season. Smyly will rehab the injury and surgery is not expected, but Smyly and the club are seeking additional information about how to handle the recovery.
"It's a key loss," general manager Jerry Dipoto said Friday. "I can sit here and lament that we've lost Drew for a period of time or I can take a positive outlook and we're days away from Opening Day.
"It does nobody good ... if we break with our head down. Drew was and is important to our season. I anticipate he will contribute at some point, just not as soon as we expected."
Smyly was slotted to be Seattle's No. 4 starter after being acquired in the offseason in a trade from Tampa Bay. He was impressive early in spring training and in his one start for the United States during the World Baseball Classic. But Dipoto said Smyly did not seem the same after returning from the WBC and that further examination revealed the injury.
Dipoto did not blame the WBC for the injury and said the club will be conservative with Smyly because of the long-term future they see with him.
"Injury is injury and it can happen at any time in any place," Dipoto said. "It's hard to point the finger back. I'd rather look forward and figure out how we create a solution rather than placing blame."
Ariel Miranda will take Smyly's spot in the rotation after being optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Saturday.
"He earned it. He earned it last year. The starts that he made down the stretch, you could argue for the last six weeks of the season he was the most consistent starter that we had," Dipoto said.
Dipoto also said the club has signed Gordon Beckham to a minor league contract. Beckham was released by San Francisco earlier in March. He spent most of last season with Atlanta.