It was something that hadn’t been seen since March 8 in Peoria, Ariz., when the 2019 season was still filled with the promise of a bounce-back season.
For the first time since diving and awkwardly rolling over on his glove hand and suffering a hand injury that would require surgery, people saw Kyle Seager on a baseball field taking ground balls at third base.
With infield coach Perry Hill hitting them and Yusei Kikuchi’s interpreter Justin Novak catching the throws at first base, Seager took about 15 minutes worth of ground balls. With his still trimmed-down body, Seager didn’t look like he had been out since March.
“It’s definitely exciting for me,” Seager said. “It had been a long time, so it was nice getting back out there and doing something.”
The progress in recovering from the surgery to repair a torn tendon in his hand is moving ahead better than expected.
“I’m ahead of schedule,” he said. “I feel good. I have full range of motion (in the hand), the strength is coming back. We’re still doing a lot of strengthening work to get back to it (normal), but physically it feels good.”
Besides the fielding work, Seager has been cleared to swing a bat. He’s hit off the tee, and he’s doing soft toss.
“I’m hitting,” he said. “Everything is going well. I haven’t taken live BP or anything like that. No pain, no issues.”
How hard is he swinging? Like Daniel Vogelbach hard?
“I mean they are 100 percent for me, but with the way these guys are swinging it might be 40 percent for them,” he said. “But hell, I’m swinging hard. I’m swinging with the same effort level as Vogey but not the same level of force behind it. I’m letting it go. There’s no pain or anything.”
Seager has become well-acquainted with Ryan Bitzel, who handles his rehab process. The two men are together all the time, trying to get him ready. Seager had never been on the disabled list in his career, and now he’s going to miss at least the first two months of the season.
“It’s definitely been strange for me,” he said. “I didn’t get a full spring either. When you have a lot of new faces and new guys, spring is when you get to know everybody a little deeper.”
Seager isn’t certain how the rehab will progress. But he’s not eligible to return from the disabled list until May 25. The Mariners could send him to extended spring training to get some work in before sending him on a rehab assignment.
“You just want to not overdo it in the beginning and have soreness the next day,” he said. “I know my timetable. I know when I’m eligible to come back. You don’t need to go crazy and get ready as soon as you can.”
- Dee Gordon got Friday night’s game off because of overall soreness, said manager Scott Servais. Gordon was limping late in Friday’s win after making a diving stop and sliding multiple times.
- Yusei Kikuchi will make his next scheduled start Friday in Cleveland to open the series vs. the Indians. He will no inning or pitch restrictions.
- Right-hander Mike Wright was added to the Mariners roster and Justus Sheffield was optioned to Tacoma. The Mariners acquired Wright from the Orioles on Wednesday.