Say goodbye to outfielder Endy Chavez for the remainder of the season.
The way he was grimacing and rolling around on the turf in shallow left field on Friday night was the first sign that his right knee was badly damaged during a collision with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and an MRI exam disclosed the seriousness of the injury.
“He ended up tearing his ACL,” manager Don Wakamatsu told the media prior to tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks. “They will wait until the swelling goes down and then he will have surgery and more than likely be out for the whole year.”
It’s a tough break for the Mariners, who have their best defensive outfield in the game with chavez in left field, Franklin Gutierrez in center and Ichiro in right, but a devasting blow to Chavez. He’s a likeable guy with a smile on his face most of the time.
He filled in admirably for the disabled Ichiro the first eight games of the season, batting in Ichiro’s leadoff spot. He batted .394 and had at least one hit the first 10 games he played.
Chavez was batting .273 with two home runs, 13 RBIs and nine stolen bases when he was injured.
Endy will be missed.
“It will affect our depth, obviously, and take away a left-handed bat,” Wakamatsu said. “Here’s a guy that showed us he can get on base and function up here. His defense. There are several factors why we liked him on the club, including his leadership with the Latin players.”
To replace Chavez on the roster, the Mariners promoted infielder Josh Wilson from the Minors. He is in uniform for tonight’s game.
The injury to Chavez gives Wladimir Balentien a chance to step up and prove he belongs in the big leagues.
He has been a disappointment, batting just .223 with one home run and six RBIs in 112 at-bats.
“we have given Balentien a couple of opportunites this year to see if he can be the kind of player we think he can be,” Wakamatsu said. “If not, we’ll have to make some changes.”
In other news today:
*Catcher Kenji Johjima is scheduled to play five innings and get two at-bats for Triple-A Tacoma tonight in a rehab game.
*Right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley threw his second bullpen and could be going to Tacoma on a rehab assignment in the next few days. Look for him to rejoin the Mariners around the All-Star break next month.
— Jim Street