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Cano fractures hand on HBP; surgery possible

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

DETROIT -- Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand when he was hit by a fastball in the third inning of Sunday's 5-4 loss against the Tigers at Comerica Park, and he could be facing surgery that would likely sideline him for much of the first half of the season.

"I knew right away," said Cano, whose entire hand and wrist were encased in a soft cast after the game. "It's kind of the same feeling when I broke my pinkie toe in Japan [during an offseason tour in 2015]. I knew right away."

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DETROIT -- Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano fractured the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand when he was hit by a fastball in the third inning of Sunday's 5-4 loss against the Tigers at Comerica Park, and he could be facing surgery that would likely sideline him for much of the first half of the season.

"I knew right away," said Cano, whose entire hand and wrist were encased in a soft cast after the game. "It's kind of the same feeling when I broke my pinkie toe in Japan [during an offseason tour in 2015]. I knew right away."

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The fifth metacarpal is a bone at the base of the pinkie finger on the side of the hand. Cano said he'll fly to Philadelphia to see a hand specialist on Tuesday, and he will know more about a time frame at that point. The Mariners will add a replacement from Triple-A Tacoma before Monday's game in Minnesota, with veteran infielder Gordon Beckham a good possibility.

Manager Scott Servais said Dee Gordon, who played second base with the Marlins before being acquired by Seattle last winter, will remain in center field and is not a candidate to replace Cano at this point.

The eight-time All-Star was hit by an 88-mph fastball on a 3-2 pitch from Blaine Hardy, who was making his first Major League start after four years as a reliever for the Tigers.

"Of course it's frustrating, the way we've been playing," Cano said. "But you have to go with what God gives you. It can be something worse, but I have to take the time and recover 100 percent and come back and play again."

Cano has started every game for the Mariners this season and has never missed more than 12 games in a season since 2006 with the Yankees.

Cano dropped to the ground in pain after being hit, then was taken out after briefly consulting with Servais and athletic trainer Rob Nodine.

"It's a freak accident and those things do happen," Servais said. "I don't know how long he's going to be out, or where we're headed there. It certainly hurts: he's a middle-of-the-lineup guy. But we need to have guys step up. We've overcome some things before. It'll be a little obstacle, but guys will regroup, step up and keep moving forward."

Utility man Andrew Romine replaced Cano as a pinch-runner and remained in the game at second base. He's the only backup infielder currently on the Mariners' 25-man roster, but Beckham is a nine-year Major League veteran who started 668 career games at second and has posted a .300/.412/.500 line with four homers and 15 RBIs in 25 games for Tacoma this year.

"Not an easy [spot] to fill, there's no question on that," Servais said. "We'll talk to [general manager] Jerry [Dipoto] and the guys later today. Robbie is going to be out a while, so we'll have to figure it out. Our lineup is deep enough to absorb losing Robbie for a period of time, but other guys will need to step up and continue to swing the bat well."

Cano grounded out in his first at-bat Sunday, and he's hitting .287 with four home runs and 23 RBIs.

"It's gonna be tough, but we'll continue to battle," shortstop Jean Segura said. "He's a big part of our team and lineup, but we have guys here that can handle the position. But we're going to miss him, no doubt."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Robinson Cano