If somebody told first baseman Ji-Man Choi to “break a leg” before the Mariners’ Cactus-League opener Wednesday, they probably feel guilty right now.
Seattle was a routine ground-ball putout away from winning their Cactus League opener against the Padres when Choi jumped to snag a high throw from SS Tyler Smith.
Choi landed awkwardly and sustained a fractured right fibula — the tying run came around to score — before getting carted off the field. The Mariners won their 22nd annual charity game, 4-3, in 10 innings on a walk-off RBI single from Patrick Kivlehan that bounced past right fielder Rymer Liriano.
But Choi’s injury overshadowed what was otherwise a successful day for Seattle at Peoria Stadium.
“That’s a tough break,” manager Lloyd McClendon told MLB.com. “It was almost a little freakish. He went up and came down on the opposite foot and fractured his (lower leg). It’s a little tough. He just landed awkwardly.”
Choi, 23, wasn’t expected to make the Mariners out of spring training. The South Korea native spent of almost all last season at Triple-A Tacoma, where he had a .283/.381/.392 slash with five home runs and 30 RBIs in 70 games before receiving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance.
Choi’s injury doesn’t help the Mariners’ depth at first base. They’re now down to the injury-prone Logan Morrison and a trimmed-down Jesus Montero, who went 2-for-2 Wednesday. It’s possible that veteran utility men Willie Bloomquist and Rickie Weeks could play some first, too.
The Mariners have more than a month to figure it out. They open the regular season April 6 against the Angels at Safeco Field.
Robinson Canó, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison, the No. 3-4-5-6 hitters in the lineup, combined to go 8-for-12 with a double, home run and three RBI to lead the Mariners to a 9-4 victory over the San Diego Padres Thursday afternoon in Cactus League play at Peoria Stadium.
Mariners’ big bats big
The No. 3-4-5-6 hitters in the lineup — Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and Logan Morrison, combined to go 8-for-12 with a double, home run and three RBI to as the Mariners won a second game over the Padres, this one 9-4 Thursday, at Peoria Stadium.
Cano and Cruz hit a pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the first, and Seager got the Mariners on the board with a run-scoring single. Cano doubled in his second at-bat and scored on a towering home run to left field by Cruz in the bottom of the third.
Minor league prospect Patrick Kivlehan continued his early strong showing, hitting a three-run home run in the eighth inning.
Starter Roenis Elias gave up three hits in two scoreless innings and right-hander Justin Germano earned the win, allowing two hits in 1.1 scoreless innings. (box score)
- The News Tribune had its game recap and a notebook on RHP Taijaun Walker’s strong start in his opening bid to make the Mariners’ rotation. The Seattle Times also had a write-up on Walker’s 2015 debut.
- Highly-regarded Mariners prospect D.J. Peterson had a nice start, homering in his first at-bat on a high fastball from San Diego LHP Jason Lane. He finished 1-for-5.
- Former Mariner Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-2 with a single and a walk in his first appearance following a 524-day absence because of an MLB suspension for repeatedly violating the league’s PED policy. Yankees fans met Rodriguez with a mixture of boos and cheers.