The postgame hopes that the injury to Mike Zunino’s left wrist wasn’t serious were crushed on Friday afternoon, much like the bone in his wrist.
After a MRI on Friday morning, Zunino was diagnosed with a broken hamate bone in the wrist. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The corresponding roster move has yet to be announced. But according to a source within the Mariners’ organization, it will be veteran Humberto Quintero, who was designated for assignment by the Phillies two days ago.
Quintero is scheduled to arrive shortly after batting practice.
The injury will require surgery next week.
Zunino suffered the fracture swinging and missing at a pitch in the third inning of Friday night’s win. He felt the discomfort but finished the at-bat. He felt pain when he fouled off a pitch and then later flew out to center.
“I felt it really on a swing and miss,’ he said. “And then I had a couple more swings after that. I felt it then but just kind of battled through it.”
Zunino went out and caught the fourth inning and the pain persisted.
“The last inning was the tell tale of it all,”[ he said. “I felt it there and knew something wasn’t right.”
He was replaced by Henry Blanco. Zunino had taken a few foul balls in the area above the hamate bone earlier in the game and a couple days before, he thought the pain in the lower wrist was a result of it.
“It’s unfortunate for Mike and for us,” said acting manager Robby Thompson. “It’s one of those freak things. You see it throughout the years with hitters. ”
Ken Griffey Jr. suffered the same injury as well with the Mariners.
Zunino will have the hamate bone, which serves no purpose in function, removed from his wrist in the surgery. The expected recovery is around five to six weeks.
“That’s a ballpark figure,’ Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said. “Once the surgeon sees him and determines what he needs to do, we’ll have a better idea. But we’ve had a few guys that have had hamate injuries in the past. Ken Griffey had one and played after 23 days. That was like the far exception. Usually it averages 28-35 days. Once they remove the bone and sutures heal, then they start to work on tolerance and it just kind of depends on how things go from there.”
Thompson couldn’t use Quintero’s name pregame since the official roster move hasn’t been made. But he said he hasn’t quite figured how he will split up the playing time between the two veteran catchers. At 41, Blanco, despite being in exceptional physical shape, can’t play more than a handful of times in a week.
“Once we get (Quintero) here, we’ll sit down as a group and figure that out,” Thompson said. “We’ll probably split time and do the matchup thing and go from there. One thing about it, Henry does know the pitchers now and has caught most of them. So the next guy we bring in here, we’ll pick our spots on how to break him in with our pitching staff.”
Zunino appeared in 29 games with Seattle, batting .242 (24×99) with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 10 RBI. In his last 11 games (July 8-25), he hit .324 (11×34) with 2 doubles, a home run, 6 RBI and 7 walks. He reached base safely via hit or walk in 10 of the 11 games, and had driven in the “game winning” RBI in each his past three starts.