Healy was acquired from the Oakland A’s in the offseason. He hit .271 with a .753 on-base plus slugging percentage, 29 doubles, 25 home runs and 78 RBI in 2017.
PEORIA, Ariz. — The decision on how to resolve the lingering discomfort in Ryon Healy’s right hand was made quickly. A day after manager Scott Servais said Healy was dealing with the injury, the Mariners announced Thursday that their projected starting first baseman had undergone surgery to remove a bone spur from his right hand.
Healy is expected to miss four to six weeks. That timeline is based on when he’ll be back playing in games.
“From what I’ve heard, he’ll be game ready in four to six weeks,” Servais said. “I know that’s a big window. But I’m not a doctor, and we’ll have to see how the rehab stuff goes. I know Ryon, and he’s shooting for before the four weeks is up.”
On Wednesday, Servais confirmed that Healy was dealing with a hand injury suffered during offseason hitting and training and said he was undergoing more tests. The tests revealed the spur in the hand, and the decision was made to have surgery.
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“I think it’s just a freak thing,” Servais said. “When I first heard about it, I thought hamate (bone). Everybody is used to that, and they go in and take it out. But this is not the hamate. It’s in his right hand, his top hand with the bat. And any time you have an issue with your hands, you get a little worried and a little cautious. But everything coming out of the surgery is positive.”
The procedure, called a “right hand metacarpal boss excision” in a statement by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto, was performed Wednesday in Philadelphia by a Dr. Randall W. Culp.
“We knew there was an issue there, and I think absolutely the best-case scenario came out of it,” Servais said Thursday. “It wasn’t a major deal. He got it cleaned up.”
Healy was acquired from the Oakland A’s in the offseason for reliever Emilio Pagan and minor-leaguer Alexander Campos. He hit .271 with a .753 on-base plus slugging percentage, 29 doubles, 25 home runs and 78 RBI in 2017.
“It gives them an opportunity,” Servais said. “They were going to play a lot anyway. And we’ll give some other guys some opportunities as well while we see how Ryon is coming along.”
Vogelbach, 25, played himself out of an opening-day roster spot last spring. He spent almost the entire 2017 season in Class AAA Tacoma. He hit .290 with an .844 on-base plus slugging percentage, 25 doubles, 17 homers and 83 RBI in 125 games. The Mariners selected Ford, 25, in the Rule 5 draft from the Yankees in December. He split the 2017 season between Class AA Trenton and Class AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre, hitting .270 (116 for 429) with a .404 on-base percentage, a .471 slugging percentage, 24 doubles, a triple, 20 home runs and 86 RBI in 126 games. Ford walked more times (94) than he struck out (72).
Concerns about Vogelbach’s ability to handle the defensive responsibilities at first base on an everyday basis in the big leagues remain an issue for people in the organization. Ford has never played in a big-league game.
If Healy’s doesn’t progress as expected, the Mariners could sign an experienced free-agent first baseman. They previously had interest in Lucas Duda, and former Mariners first basemen Logan Morrison, Adam Lind and Danny Valencia are available. But Servais indicated that they aren’t considering that option yet.
“I don’t want to get too far down the road,” Servais said. “We’ve got about six weeks to work out here before we open up (the season), so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that Ryon can get back in the mix.”