Second baseman Robinson Cano is battling a bruise between the thumb and forefinger on his left hand, the Mariners confirmed Friday when he wasn’t in the lineup for a second straight game.
“I feel better than I felt yesterday (Thursday),” Cano said. “Maybe tomorrow (Saturday, back in the lineup), but that’s up to the manager.”
The injury occurred earlier this week on a swing when the bat jammed back into the soft webbed area between the thumb and forefinger. Club officials privately indicate Cano should return by the end of the weekend.
“I’m just going to leave him out (today),” manager Lloyd McClendon said prior to the series opener against Detroit at Safeco Field. “He’s going to be day to day. He’s not in the lineup today.
“We’ll see how he’s feeling (on Saturday). It’s nothing serious. He has a little soreness in there in the muscle area.”
Cano is batting .327 with a .371 on-base percentage and a .420 slugging percentage. He has two homers and 31 RBIs in 52 games. No player has appeared in more games than Cano since the start of the 2007 season
Nick Franklin replaced Cano at second base for the second straight game.
Veteran outfielder Endy Chavez returned to the Mariners prior to Friday’s game as part of an evolving roster shuffle. He went immediately into the lineup as the left fielder and leadoff hitter.
The club cleared space by optioning right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer to Triple-A Tacoma. He underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam after reporting back soreness Thursday following his start.
The exam must have found no problems because the rules prevent optioning an injured player to the minors.
Maurer gave up five runs in four innings in Thursday’s 7-5 loss to the Angels, which dropped his record to 1-4 and hiked his ERA to 7.52 for seven starts.
The Mariners cleared space for Chavez on their 40-man roster by transferring right-hander Blake Beavan from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
Beavan hasn’t pitched since being diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis after after an April 15 start at Texas.
The Mariners are expected to make at least one more roster move prior to Tuesday’s game in Atlanta, when Maurer’s turn comes around again in the rotation.
McClendon cited right-hander Erasmo Ramirez as “probably the next option.” Ramirez is 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA through five starts at Tacoma after going 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA in six big-league starts.
Chavez, 36, was batting .272 with a .346 on-base percentage in 37 games at Tacoma. He batted .267 last season in 97 games for the Mariners before agreeing in January to a minor-league deal.
That deal contained a June 1 out clause, which allowed Chavez to become a free agent if not in the majors at that point. He had indicated he was likely to exercise that clause.
Chavez has a .269/.307/.364 slash (average, OBP and slugging percentage) in 1,071 games over 12 seasons with seven clubs. He also spent 2009 with the Mariners.
There’s still no consensus in the major online mock-draft projections for the Mariners with the No. 6 overall pick.
Baseball America’s John Manuel has Seattle taking Hartford left-hander Sean Newcomb, while MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo predicts Louisiana State righty Aaron Nola.
The two predictions came a few days after ESPN.com’s Keith Law projected the Mariners taking catcher/outfielder Alex Johnson of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego.
The three-day draft begins next Thursday.
Hi-A High Desert third baseman D.J. Peterson checked in at No. 4 in Baseball America’s weekly Prospect Hot Sheet. Peterson is generally viewed as the Mariners’ top non-pitching prospect.
“The best pure hitter in the Mariners system has put on a power show in the past week,” Baseball America noted, “slugging five of his 10 homers in the past seven days.
“Peterson hit just two homers in April but has slugged .589 this month. He said something clicked during a game against Lancaster after he ripped a double to right-center field. Moving away from a pull-happy approach and back to his line-drive swing has righted the ship.”
The Prospect Hot Sheet seeks to identify which of the game’s top prospects are currently performing well. It is not intended as a ranking of those prospects’ overall potential.
Mariners reliever Danny Farquhar and Tigers catcher Alex Avila were teammates at Archbishop McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches, Fla…Willie Bloomquist entered the series with a .340 career average (55-for-162) against the Tigers. The only other active player who has a higher average against the Tigers with at least 120 plate appearances in Nationals outfielder Denard Span at .346 (99-for-286)…The first 20,000 fan through the gates for Saturday’s game get a Robinson Cano bobblehead doll.
It was 15 years ago Saturday — May 31, 1999 — that the Mariners set a major-league record by reaching 100 homers in 50 games. They also tied a major-league record for homers in one month by hitting 58 in May.
The Mariners and Tigers continue their three-game weekend series at 7:10 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Chris Young (4-2 with a 3.30 ERA) will face Detroit lefty Drew Smyly (2-3 and 3.86.).
Root Sports will carry the game.
The Mariners conclude their 11-game homestand Sunday in the series finale against the Tigers. Then comes a trip to New York (one game), Atlanta (two games) and Tampa Bay (four games).