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Kinney likely to miss rest of Spring Training

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners reliever Josh Kinney says he's baffled by what caused the stress reaction in his back that will sideline him at least the next few weeks, but the veteran right-hander vowed to come back better than ever once the injury heals.

Kinney, 34, will miss most of the rest of Spring Training even in the best-case scenario. And he acknowledged Tuesday that there is no real timeline on how long the recovery might take.

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The back of Kinney's left shoulder has bothered him since he drove himself from Missouri to Arizona for the start of camp a month ago. He didn't think much of it initially, but the soreness worsened despite continued work with trainers and a chiropractor.

Though he pitched well in his first three outings, things fell apart in his fourth appearance last week against the Brewers when he couldn't get through his scheduled inning of work. He finally went for an MRI that revealed a stress reaction, which is a precursor to a potential stress fracture in the upper rib.

"I'm just baffled," Kinney said. "I didn't fall, I didn't do anything. I don't even know how you get one of these, but I have one. It's odd, but these things happen. That's what [manager Eric] Wedge said, that's what the trainers said. It's just a freak thing and you get through it."

Kinney posted a 3.94 ERA in 35 appearances for the Mariners in the second half of last season. He figured prominently as a veteran right-hander in a young bullpen this spring, but now his immediate future is on hold.

"They told me a few weeks of doing nothing to see how it feels and let it recover," he said. "That's another question mark. There's no real set timetable on how long it takes to go away. I just have to see how it reacts. So right now I'm not doing anything except shoulder and elbow stuff to keep my [right] arm strong.

"I've been through a lot," said Kinney, who missed the entire 2007 season following right shoulder surgery after pitching in the 2006 World Series for the Cardinals. "This is not even a bump in the road. I'll heal up and be back better than ever."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

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