Ty France wandered into the Mariners clubhouse Wednesday afternoon, upbeat and offering his usual sarcasm as media members followed him to his locker where he was grabbing a bat.
“Uh oh, here we go,” he said. “I wonder what you want to ask about.”
Well, less than 24 hours earlier, France was face down in the right-handed batter’s box having just been hit by 97-mph fastball from Trevor May on his left hand.
“When it first happened, I thought my wrist exploded,” he said. “The whole area just went numb and you are thinking the worst.”
After getting helped to his feet and examined by athletic trainer Kyle Torgerson while manager Scott Servais observed cautiously, France remained in the game and jogged to first.
“Once the adrenaline sort of wore off when I was at first base, I started to feel it,” he said. “I knew it was time to come out.”
The Mariners were relieved to find that postgame X-rays on France’s wrist were negative.
“When you get hit like that, the first thing you think is, ‘Oh my god, my hand is broke, or something is broken,’” Servais said. “I think the adrenaline kind of subsides a little bit, you calm down and you realize, ‘I’m gonna be OK.’ Obviously we’ll get him today off. And we’ll see how he is. He really is day to day, but we’re very lucky. It very easily could have been broken something.”
The actual injured area wasn’t France’s wrist, the ball actually hit on the fatty pad of his left hand in between the base of the pinkie finger and the wrist.
“I got lucky,” he said.
Indeed, had the ball been an inch either way, France likely would’ve suffered a fracture. Instead, he had some minor swelling on the outside of his palm.
The last two years, France has suffered left wrist injuries while trying to make diving plays in the field. They hampered him at the plate and put him awful slumps. But he was adamant there was no discomfort in his wrist, and he showed that he had full range of motion by rotating it while holding the bat.
France was out of the lineup for Wednesday’s game vs. the A’s with Sam Haggerty starting at first base in his place. He wouldn’t rule out being available to pinch hit.
“I’m going to go test it out and take some swings in a little bit,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s going to keep me out for too long.”
After Tuesday’s game, May, who grew up a Mariners fan in Kelso and lives in Mercer Island, was apologetic about hitting France. He said he planned to reach out to France and make sure he wasn’t seriously hurt.
France said he hadn’t heard from May but figured he would talk to him after batting practice.
“He didn’t do it on purpose,” France said. “It got away from him. It’s part of the game.”
The Mariners don’t have another true first baseman on the roster. Haggerty started a game in Toronto when France was under the weather. Before that, his only experience at the position was in one spring training game.