ARLINGTON, Texas – As manager Scott Servais joked Saturday, he wasn’t wrong in predicting injured shortstop Jean Segura would get back on the field this weekend in Texas.
“We did get him on the field,” Servais pointed out. “Just not in the game.”
Segura tested his recovery from a high ankle sprain Saturday by running the bases and moving laterally to field ground balls in an early workout. Barring day-after problems, he will likely start a rehab assignment Monday at Triple-A Tacoma.
“I feel I’m close,” Segura said. “The more things I do, the better I feel. I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’m moving well. I think by Monday, I should be much better.”
Segura suffered the injury June 1 on a slide at second base in a 6-3 loss to Colorado at Safeco Field. Initial indications suggested Segura might miss up to two months, but Servais targeted this weekend as a possible return date.
“I’m happy he’s recovered as quickly as he has,” Servais said. “It could have been a lot worse.”
Tentative plans call for Segura to be the designated hitter Monday for Tacoma in a 7:05 p.m. game against Salt Lake (Angels) at Cheney Stadium. Segura would play shortstop Tuesday and, if all goes well, return Wednesday to the Mariners.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to pitch five or six innings Monday for the Rainiers in a rehab start in his recovery from a sore shoulder that worsened in a May 3 start against the Los Angeles Angels.
Felix Hernandez was scheduled to make his third rehab start Saturday at Tacoma in his recovery from bursitis in his shoulder, which surfaced in an April 25 start at Detroit.
Segura, Hernandez and Iwakuma should all return to active duty within a week.
Servais said Segura, when he returns, will reclaim his job as the club’s leadoff hitter even though Ben Gamel, through Friday, is batting .347, which would lead the American League if he had 14 more plate appearances.
Segura is batting .341, which also would lead the league if he had 15 more plate appearances. Gamel has a slight edge in on-base percentage, through Friday, at .414 to .391.
“We’re going to leave those two guys at the top, Segura and (Mitch) Haniger,” Servais said. “Then Gamel will fit very nicely at seven or whatever hole.
“There will be times when we’ll move it around and mix it up a little bit, but I don’t see any reason why you’d put Jean Segura anywhere other than (leadoff).”
Mariners claim right-hander Light from Pirates
Add a new name to the Mariners’ revolving mix of candidates for its bullpen shuttle to-and-from Triple-A Tacoma.
The Mariners acquired Pat Light, a power right-hander, in a Saturday waiver claim from Pittsburgh and assigned him to the Rainiers.
“Big arm,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He operates in high 90s with the fastball and and what at times is a nasty split. His command and overall consistency remain works in progress.
“The acquisition cost is low, and he’s still young with untapped potential. We’ll see if we can help him tap in to that upside.”
Light, 26, struggled last season in compiling an 11.34 ERA in 17 appearances for Boston and Minnesota. He made just two outings for the Red Sox before going to the Twins in an Aug. 1 trade for veteran reliever Fernando Abad.
The Pirates acquired Light from Minnesota in a February trade and assigned him to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was 3-0 with four saves and a 3.76 ERA in 22 games. He had 20 strikeouts but also 15 walks in 26 1/3 innings.
Pittsburgh designated Light for assignment on June 10. He hasn’t pitched since June 8, which makes him, yet, a fresh arm.
The Mariners cleared space for Light on their 40-man roster by removing right-hander Ryne Harper after he cleared waivers. Harper remains with Tacoma on an outright assignment.
Harper, 28, is 3-2 with three saves and a 3.00 ERA in 21 outings for the Rainiers.