Despite initial reports pegging a month-long absence for Kyle Seager, fans shouldn’t expect to see the 31-year-old Gold Glover award winner until the early summer.
Prior to boarding the Mariners’ charter to Tokyo earlier today, general manager Jerry Dipoto spoke with Greg Johns of MLB.com to provide an update on the injury status of both Kyle Seager and Mallex Smith.
While the prognosis on Smith is relatively positive, Dipoto wasn’t as bullish on Seager’s chances for a swift return following surgery to repair ligament damage in his left hand on Tuesday.
"“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.”"
What this means is, at the very earliest, Seager will be back in uniform sometime in the month of June. Seager injured the hand diving for a ball in a Cactus League game with the Cubs on March 8. This will be Seager’s first time on the injured list in his eight-year career.
Ryon Healy will take over the majority of third base duties in Seager’s absence, with rookie utility man Dylan Moore supplementing him from time-to-time. The expected duration of Seager’s rehab may also open the door for Shed Long at some point, depending on how his time in Triple-A Tacoma goes.
However, no matter who fills in at third, there will be a significant drop-off in defensive ability. Seager is one of the game’s premier defensive third basemen, while his replacement, Healy, has a career -10.9 UZR and -4 DRS in 900.2 innings at the position.