Was Ty France’s final at-bat Sunday the last one he will have for 10 days?
Even with a day off Monday, it’s certainly possible France won’t get another at-bat for at least a few more days due to pain in his left wrist.
It’s the same wrist issue that sent him into a nasty hitting slump in May and eventually landed him on the 10-day injured list.
“It’s concerning,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s one of the things that he feels once in a while on certain swings. We’re gonna have it re-looked at, probably get another picture, an MRI tomorrow.”
In the ninth inning Sunday of the Mariners’ 6-2 walkoff victory in the 10th inning, France came to the plate with two outs and tough Tampa Bay right-handed reliever Pete Fairbanks on the mound.
Looking for a first-pitch fastball, France swung wildly at 96 mph fastball that tailed away from him. The awkward swing tweaked his left wrist and he grimaced in obvious pain, grabbing at the wrist with his right hand.
After working the count full and even fouling off a pitch that didn’t cause him to wince, France waved at curve ball in the dirt. That even more awkward swing produced a look of pure agony. He bent over, letting the arm hang and trying to not move it. Servais and a trainer came to check on him, but after a brief inspection of the wrist and some conversation, France remained in the game to play defense. He was lifted for a pinch-runner in the bottom of the 10th.
“We’ll get an MRI to see where that’s at,” Servais said. “Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and maybe just a couple days off and he’ll be OK again. But he’s been fantastic since he came back from the IL stint earlier. It’s been what we’ve expected out of Ty France — he hits. He hits, he hits in big spots, he hits the breaking ball and hopefully we don’t lose him for too much time.”
The original injury — a bone bruise in his left wrist — came when France dove for a ground ball while playing second base in a late-April series against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
He tried to play through the discomfort, but it basically began to hurt on every swing. The results were as expected.
Before that Astros series, France played 22 games, posting a .316/.409/.532 slash line with eight doubles, three homers, 13 RBI, nine walks and 22 strikeouts in 93 plate appearances.
In the next 15 games, including the Astros series, France had a .096/.217/.115 slash line with a double, an RBI, seven walks and 10 strikeouts in 60 plate appearances.
“It’s hard to hit without a bottom hand,” he said at the time.
The Mariners eventually had to place him on the injured list May 14 and he was activated 10 days later, admitting that the wrist wasn’t 100%, but still better.
Coming into Sunday, he had a .323/.394/.479 slash line with nine doubles, two homers, 13 RBI, five walks and 13 strikeouts in the 26 games since coming off the injured list.
Sunday, he crushed hit his sixth homer of the season — a towering moon shot off right-hander Ryan Thompson — that tied the game at 2-2 in the seventh.
All was good in France’s world until the next at-bat.
Right-hander Erik Swanson (groin strain) will throw a bullpen session Monday and then start a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma. He’s expected to throw a live batting practice with Tacoma and then start pitching in games.