The scowl on Eugenio Suárez’s face encapsulated the anguish that the Mariners’ most resilient player felt after injuring his right index finger on Friday, and the distress that his possible absence could bring if he’s gone for an extended period.
Seattle’s 8-7 loss to the Angels was made all the more frustrating by Suárez’s early departure in the fifth inning, especially considering that, apart from his condition, the loss mostly came at the hands of defense and pitching, which had been the team’s strongest points.
The injury occurred on a chopping groundout by Suárez in the bottom of the fourth inning, and it worsened during his swing in a four-pitch at-bat that ended in a popout in the bottom of the fifth. When he took a swing at the first pitch with two runners on base, he appeared to hurt himself, and he later gripped his right wrist in pain as he jogged to first base after a flyout.
Suárez tried to play through the pain when taking infield grounders, but eventually, he yelled in exasperation and called for athletic trainers after shortstop J.P. Crawford. Scott Servais, the manager, said that X-rays were “inconclusive,” therefore Suárez will have further scans on Saturday.
“I’m obviously uncomfortable. Taking my initial swing, I wasn’t able to get a good enough grip on the bat, and that upset me a lot,” Suárez admitted. To find out what transpired, we had to remove me from the game. What I’ve said is all I have at the moment. As much as I tried, I just couldn’t get that throw-off. I couldn’t throw as well because of the swelling, so I had to leave the game.
Eugenio Suárez left after the fourth and final pitch of an eventual pop out, but he showed pain after swinging on the first pitch of the at-bat. pic.twitter.com/3A7Ft58xmF
— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) September 17, 2022
For the second AL Wild Card slot, the Mariners are now two games behind Toronto (with whom they hold the tiebreaker) and a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay (and the tiebreaker with Seattle). Although the Mariners are still in a strong position to make the playoffs, they are not in peak physical condition, and losing Suárez, one of MLB’s top hitters over the past six weeks, at this late stage of the season would be devastating.
Since August 1st, Suárez has played in 40 games, and in that time he has hit.246/.352/.616 (.968 OPS) with 15 home runs, which is tied for the most in MLB with AL MVP frontrunner and record home run season leader Aaron Judge. Not only have they been enormous, game-changing rockets, but Suárez’s value in the middle of the order has been highlighted by his walk-off home run against the reigning champion Braves last weekend.
As Servais put it, “it is troubling, no doubt.” “Geno’s been a game-changer for us defensively and offensively.” The loss of the veteran and team leader is especially devastating because he is the player the Mariners need most. Because of his substantially improved defense, he is now one of Seattle’s most reliable players, having appeared in 142 of the team’s 143 games this season.
As Suárez put it, “it is frustrating.” I need to be with my team, supporting the men who have faith in me. Really, all I want to do is play all the time. But over this, I have no say whatsoever. An incident occurred during the contest, and I will return as soon as possible.
Servais and Suárez didn’t want to make any final statements until additional testing was done, but Servais did suggest that the team will be adding a taxi squad from Triple-A Tacoma, who is playing in Las Vegas at the moment.
Cal Raleigh (who hurt his left thumb sliding into first on a groundout on Wednesday) and Mitch Haniger may require numerous taxis to the field (who took early BP and ran the bases Friday but missed his second straight game with lower back soreness).
Jake Lamb, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts while replacing Haniger in right field on Friday, would be the first in line to fill in at third base if Suárez were to be sidelined. But if he stays healthy, utility man Dylan Moore, who started his rehab assignment with Tacoma on Friday, where he went 1-for-4, could be an option.
Jarred Kelenic and Kyle Lewis may become available if players are moved around the roster. Tacoma made a last-minute decision to bench their starting catcher Luis Torrens, most likely as a precautionary measure depending on the health of Raleigh’s starting pitcher.
Whatever the case may be, the Mariners, who battled for much of the first half owing in large part to injuries, now have more health issues than they’d want, especially with only 19 games remaining in the season.