The search for familiar players among the 2019 Mariners took a hit Monday when word came from spring training in Peoria that 3B Kyle Seager will have surgery to fix a tendon in his left hand that was damaged when he dove for a ball down the line in a game Friday against the Cubs.
Manager Scott Servais said he will be out at least through April.
“He’s going to have the surgery done (Tuesday) here with a hand specialist in Arizona,” he told reporters Monday. “I don’t have an exact timetable of when to expect him back to play. I know he will be out the month of April, after that I don’t know.”
Seager, 31, has been among the most durable of MLB third basemen, having never missed more than eight games in a season since becoming Seattle’s full-time starter in 2012.
“This will be the first time for me having to go on the DL, and that’s something I was proud of,” Seager told MLB.com. “It sucks. Anytime you don’t get to go out there with your teammates and your guys, it’s hard.
“I think a lot of (the return) will depend on the rehab part of it, how quickly I can get through that type of stuff. (The doctor) really didn’t give too definitive a timeline, but I think it’s going to be a little while.”
Seager was an object of attention in spring training for a slimmed-down physique after a changed workout routine improved his flexibility. He was coming off his worst season — .221/.273/.400, 22 homers, 78 RBI — and was hitting .318 in nine games, with two doubles and no homers.
Seager’s likely replacement is Ryon Healy, who will move over from first base, where the Mariners had an overload. He played third base in the minors and started 103 games for the A’s there in 2016-17. He was the Mariners’ full-time starter in 2018, hitting .235 with 23 homers and 73 RBIs in 493 at-bats.
The Mariners had a rotation of Healy, newcomer DH Edwin Encarnacion and holdover Daniel Vogelbach working between first base and DH.
The Mariners break camp after Wednesday to fly to Japan, where they play two exhibition games before opening the MLB season with games against the Oakland A’s March 20-21.