France hit by pitch, exits with arm injury

April 20th, 2021

SEATTLE -- exited the Mariners’ series opener with a right forearm contusion Monday against the Dodgers after being hit by a 98.4 mph two-seam fastball from Dustin May during the fifth inning. X-rays were negative, the Mariners announced.

May was battling his command at that point, and his two-seamer -- which has been touted for elite run inside to righties -- kept bleeding inward against France.

“You kind of get a bad feeling,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said after the 4-3 win. “Standing so close to home plate, you get a feeling sometimes, if it is a broken bone or whatever. But you never know until they get that X-ray. So, obviously very happy that it's not a broken bone. He's going to be sore tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see how he feels when he comes in in the morning. Hopefully, he's good to go. But we've got to wait and see.”

Seattle’s slugging designated hitter was playing third base for the first time this season, and upon returning to the field and fielding grounders between innings, his pain was too pronounced to continue. He could be seen on the ROOT Sports telecast mouthing “I can’t throw” toward the Mariners’ dugout, at which point he was replaced by utility man Sam Haggerty.

France, who has been hit four times this season, has been the Mariners’ most productive bat outside of Mitch Haniger, and the two have formed one of the more formidable 1-2 punches in the American League at the top of the lineup. France entered Monday hitting .305/.400/.525 with three homers, 10 RBIs and 172 OPS+. He went deep in Sunday’s 7-2 win over the Astros with a season-high three RBIs.

The Mariners have been without their top run producer from 2020 -- center fielder Kyle Lewis -- all season, but the reigning AL Rookie of the Year is expected to be activated for Tuesday’s series finale.

Second baseman Dylan Moore took over for France at third, and Haggerty took Moore’s spot at second on Monday. Everyday third baseman Kyle Seager made a scheduled start at DH on Monday after starting at the hot corner in each of the Mariners’ first 16 games.