Posted on June 3, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Injuries continue to plague the Seattle Mariners this season, and not just the team’s pitching staff. The Mariners watched both shortstop Jean Segura and DH Nelson Cruz leave Thursday’s loss against the Rockies with injuries. The news was positive on Cruz, who was back in the lineup Friday when the team began a series against the Tampa Bay Rays. However, the news was not as good on Segura, who has been placed on the 10-day DL with a high ankle sprain.
Segura went on the DL Friday while tied with Tampa’s Corey Dickerson for the best batting average in the American League. He’s been an invaluable catalyst at the top of Seattle’s lineup all season. There’s no timetable for his return, but Segura missing any amount of time is a crushing blow to the Mariners, who are fighting to remain in contention until their starting rotation can get healthy.
“Time-table wise, we don’t really know yet,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters Friday. “We’ll see where he’s at in about seven days when we can get a little better feel for that.”
On the bright side, Cruz won’t miss any time after being hit by a pitch on his left hand. Like Segura, Cruz has been one of Seattle’s most impactful players this season. He leads the team with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs while hitting .277 with an OPS of .879. Losing Cruz on top of Segura would have been disastrous for the Mariners, to say the least.
“It could have been much worse,” Servais added. “With everything else that’s happened to us this year, it was tough to watch everything happen in that ballgame with those two guys.”
For Segura, this will be his second trip to the DL this year. He missed two weeks in April with a hamstring injury and is now back on the shelf with another leg injury. Segura’s second trip to the DL is already the 16th time the Mariners have placed a player on the DL this season, a number few teams can top.
Super-utility man Tyler Motter will likely get most of the time at shortstop while Segura is on the DL. Motter is a competent shortstop defensively, but he’ll likely be a step down from what Segura brings on that side of the ball. More importantly, Motter is only hitting .209 on the season, although he’s also chipped in five home runs and 10 doubles. Nevertheless, there figures to be a significant drop-off offensively.
It’ll be at least a week until the Mariners have a better idea how long Segura may be out. High ankle sprains are known to be tricky, so there’s a chance this could turn into a prolonged absence. There’s also a chance that Segura may try to rush back knowing how much his team needs him but be hindered by the injury for the rest of the season.
The bottom line is that the Mariners can’t afford to be without Segura for long. The fact that Cruz isn’t joining him on the DL is a stroke of good fortune. But the Mariners are just barely hanging on to any hope of contending for a playoff spot this year. Until the Mariners get their starters back from the DL, they will need their offense to continue to carry them, a task that will be considerably more difficult with Segura back on the DL.