Kinney shut down with stress reaction in rib area

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners reliever Josh Kinney will be sidelined for several weeks after tests showed a stress reaction in his left rib area, the club announced Sunday.

Kinney, 34, will be re-evaluated toward the end of the month before determining how soon he can pitch again. A stress reaction is a precursor to a potential rib fracture, and Kinney was shut down in order to prevent the situation from getting worse.

The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings in his first three outings this spring, but struggled in his last appearance on Wednesday, when he gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning against the Brewers.

Kinney posted a 3.94 ERA in 35 relief appearances last year, establishing himself as a valued member of the bullpen after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma on July 3. He tied with Tom Wilhelmsen for the most games pitched from that point of the season on with 35, and he was second on the team in holds with nine.

Kinney's absence could open the door for veteran Kameron Loe, a former Brewers setup man who is trying to make the team as a non-roster invitee. The Mariners have some promising young right-handed power pitchers in the bullpen with Stephen Pryor and Carter Capps, but don't have a lot of established veterans beyond Kinney and Loe.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.