Mariners manager Scott Servais had a smile on his face as he started his pregame news conference Sunday in Anaheim.
And why not? The news regarding pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, who was forced out of the game Saturday night against the Los Angeles Angels with a knee injury, continued to be good the next morning.
“Yusei Kikuchi came in this morning and it was much better than maybe what we expected,” Servais said. “There is some minimal swelling in his knee and he is getting some treatment right now, but he’s moving OK, and he’s not on crutches. He got hit pretty good last night, but he’s trying to work out some of that swelling today and he will get treatment most of the day today. He’s got some time before his next scheduled start and we’ll just have to see how he continues to respond.”
That making his next scheduled start is even a possibility is good news for the Mariners, after seeing what happened Saturday night.
The Angels’ David Fletcher hit a hard grounder up the middle that hit Kikuchi on the inside of the right knee, causing Kikuchi to fall awkwardly to the ground.
Kikuchi was on the ground, face down, and in obvious pain. It didn’t look any better when he was helped off the field without putting any weight on the knee.
In a season in which most injury news has been bad for the Mariners, it was certainly a nice change of pace. Kikuchi is having a breakthrough season in his third year with the Mariners, with a 3-3 record and a 3.92 ERA, with 69 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings.
- Servais said center fielder Kyle Lewis, who suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee last Monday, “has consulted with a couple different doctors” and is expecting a final decision on whether he will be operated on — and by whom — on Monday.
- Jake Fraley, who was on the injured list earlier this season with a strained left hamstring, was “not feeling great with that” and was not in the starting lineup Sunday. Servais said Fraley, who hit a grand slam Saturday night, might get into the game Sunday at some point if the situation dictated it.
- Jarred Kelenic, in an 0-for-39 slump, also was out of the starting lineup Sunday.
- Servais said he expects reliever Kendall Graveman (COVID-19 injured list) to get into a game with Class AAA Tacoma “in the next day or two” but there is no timetable yet for his return to the Mariners.