Mercado on wrist: 'Thankfully it was nothing'

March 8th, 2020

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians haven’t put a timetable on ’s return from his left wrist sprain that he sustained on Thursday, but if you ask him, he believes he’ll be ready by Opening Day.

“Yeah, I think so,” Mercado said on Sunday afternoon. “I think I should be good by then. I trust my ability to recover and I trust [the training staff] in there.”

There was a shallow fly ball to Mercado in the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against the Giants. He came charging in and dove forward to make the grab, but as his glove made contact with the ground, his wrist got stuck underneath his body and bent backwards. He immediately grabbed it in pain and was removed from the game. He later was relieved to be diagnosed with just a mild wrist sprain after initially being worried that it could’ve been worse.

“I’ve dove for balls, caught my wrist and stuff, it’s never hurt,” Mercado said. “It’s looked ugly, but it’s never hurt. That was one where I dove and I knew it was awkward, but the pain was pretty big, so I got scared. But thankfully it was nothing. The guys in the training staff have done a great job of building a program for me to follow and hopefully speed up the recovery.”

Mercado had been seen with a wrap on his left wrist the last two days around the Indians’ training facility, but he was no longer wearing it on Sunday. Indians manager Terry Francona said the plan was to give the 25-year-old the weekend off to let the pain settle down in the area, before getting him back into light activities.

“It feels good,” Mercado said. "It's just one of those things where you see how you wake up and how you feel. But I’ve been feeling good. It’s getting better every day, which is a good thing. It’s just a matter of keeping with the same program in the training room and stuff and every day just kind of easing into baseball activities.”

Mercado remains day-to-day. Each morning, he will report to the Indians complex and inform the training staff how he feels. His body will then dictate the activities he does that given day.

“Obviously the goal is to get back out there and get ready for Opening Day as quickly as possible,” Mercado said. “But it’s also something that you’re gonna trust the guys in there. They know what they’re doing. I’m just gonna do whatever they want me to do and that’s pretty much it.”

He’s heard all the jokes from people telling him he needs to stop diving in exhibition games, but he said there’s no way to turn that instinct off. Spring Training is to prepare a player for the regular season, and for Mercado, that means giving 100 percent when he takes the field. And even after his minor injury, he said that mindset isn’t changing.

“It’s tough for me not to [dive],” Mercado said with a grin. “I can’t just pull up. It’s just like competitive nature kicks in. I mean [Zach] Plesac was pitching a hell of a game. You’re not just gonna pull up and not give it your all. … Every guy in here is gonna give it their all every time they’re out here. We get the privilege of playing this game for a living, so we’re not gonna take it for granted even if it is Spring Training.”