Ty France’s pain of not producing at the plate to his expected levels has now been replaced by extreme discomfort in his lower right leg.
The Mariners first baseman exited Thursday afternoon’s game in the third inning with a right calf bruise after a first-inning collision with Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez while playing first base.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s the other,” he said with a wry smile postgame. “Hopefully, it will be fine tomorrow.”
With one out and runners on first and second, shortstop J.P. Crawford attempted to finish a double play on Ramirez’s ground ball to second baseman Adam Frazier.
With Ramirez hustling down the line, Crawford rushed his throw to first base and it sailed high and to the home plate side of the base. As France made a leaping attempt to grab it, his right leg and foot collided with Ramirez’s leg as he was running through the base. France hit the ground and stayed there briefly in obvious pain.
After a conversation with manager Scott Servais and an athletic trainer, he remained in the game and finished the inning.
“What can you do? It’s baseball,” France said. “I think his knee hit me in the middle of the calf. It just felt like a really bad dead leg, like a charley horse and trying to push off, put weight on it or run, it just didn’t feel right.”
France batted in the bottom half of the inning and hit a deep fly ball to left, which was caught. He was noticeably limping as he ran to first base.
“It was pushing off and trying to get down the line that didn’t feel great,” he said. “I was moving around and trying to keep it loose, but it tightened up.”
On the final out of the top of the second, a ground out from Will Benson to Crawford, France appeared to be in discomfort when he stretched to catch the ball. Benson also clipped his right foot causing more discomfort. Irritated at the play and the situation, he limped off the field and fired his first baseman’s mitt at the dugout wall, knowing he would have to come out of the game.
“He just stepped on my ankle,” he said. “The calf is where I feel most of the pain.”
France watched the replay and wasn’t sure what Benson was trying to do.
“He was running down the line and he decided to take the inside,” France said. “I think it was more because it just happened in back-to-back innings. I felt like I was giving him the majority of the base if not all the base and that ended up happening. It could have been a lot worse. Thankfully it wasn’t, but it’s just kind of one thing after the other.”
He was replaced by Jake Lamb to start the top of the third inning.
France, 28, was named to the AL All-Star team after a stellar start to his 2021 season, though an elbow injury on a collision at first base forced him to the 10-day injured list and delayed his selection.
He’s mired in his first real slump of the season. Over his past 13 games, France has five hits — all singles — in 60 plate appearances for a .093/.150/.093 slash line with six RBI, four walks and 11 strikeouts.
Neither France nor Servais thought the injury would be serious enough for a stint on the injured list.
The Mariners game vs. the Guardians on Friday night has been selected for Apple TV’s Friday Night Baseball. That means the game will not be televised on ROOT Sports for a second straight day. Fans can only watch the game on Apple TV, which is free to stream with a sign-up of their services.
Coming into the season, MLB renewed its deal with YouTube for exclusive rights to a game of the week and also reached deals with Apple TV and Peacock for exclusive games of the week. Apple will reportedly pay $85 million per year over the next seven years to MLB for the rights to the Friday Night Game of the Week.
While that revenue is shared with every MLB team, the Mariners, who own the controlling interest in Root Sports Northwest, would prefer to be able have games on their own regional sports network for obvious reasons.