PEORIA, Ariz. -- After undergoing surgery to repair a tendon in his left hand, Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager will miss at least the next 2 1/2 months, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Thursday before boarding the team’s charter to Tokyo for next week’s Opening Series.
Dipoto said the surgery went well and Dr. Donald Sheridan, the hand specialist who performed the procedure on Tuesday in Phoenix, estimated a recovery period of between 8-10 weeks.
But Dipoto said that will be how long it’ll take before Seager can start swinging a bat, which means he’ll need more time after that to get his timing back at the plate and be ready for games.
“He won’t be able to pick up a bat until the eighth week,” Dipoto said. “It’s hard to believe we’ll shut him down for two-plus months and he’ll be able to hit MLB pitching in two weeks. So I suspect we’re probably looking more toward 10-12 weeks.”
That would leave the Mariners without their starting third baseman for both April and May at a minimum.
Though Seager is coming off the worst offensive year of his career, his loss is a significant blow to a team rebuilding largely around younger players. The 31-year-old was a Gold Glove Award winner in 2014 and has been one of the Mariners’ anchors both in the field and at the plate during the seven and a half seasons since he took over the starting role.
“Frankly, taking his left-handed bat out of lineup and the experience he brings to the table, just the defense at third base is tough,” Dipoto said. “For as much as anyone wants to be critical of Kyle’s second half last year, he’s been a really a good defensive player all his time in the big leagues.”
The Mariners have moved first baseman Ryon Healy to third base to fill the gap and also will use rookie utility player Dylan Moore there at times.
Seager will remain in Arizona to rehabilitate his hand, which was hurt when he dove for a ball down the line last Friday against the Cubs.
Seager has never been on the injured list before and has played more games than any third baseman in MLB since 2012, with his 1,079, well ahead of the next-closest player, Evan Longoria, with 917.
Mallex won’t go on injured list
Center fielder Mallex Smith won’t be making the trip to Japan, but Dipoto said he’ll not go on the 10-day injured list and should be ready to play when the club returns to Seattle for its home opener on March 28 against the Red Sox.
Smith has been out all spring with a strained right elbow, but he recently started taking batting practice and throwing. He will begin playing later this week in Minor League games, where he can get extra at-bats in the controlled environment.
“We’re expecting him to be ready,” Dipoto said. "He’s already building up his throwing program. We have to get him an appropriate number of at-bats, but all arrows point to being ready to go on March 28.”