PEORIA, Ariz. – The injury bug bit again for the Mariners. The question now is how hard.
Robinson Cano took himself out of Sunday’s game against the Reds after feeling tightness in his left hamstring, suffered when chasing a pop-up in the second inning. He is cautiously optimistic he will not miss much time.
“They did the test and I can stretch both legs the same,” he said back in the clubhouse shortly after getting checked out by trainers. “Hopefully this is the same as last year. It was just two days and then keep playing.”
Cano was able to walk back to the clubhouse from the field carrying his equipment bag with no sign of a limp. He said that he will undergo a precautionary MRI on Monday.
“I hope it’s nothing bad,” he said. “I just feel tightness. We will see what happens tomorrow.”
On the field after the Mariners’ 6-5 loss to the Reds, manager Scott Servais said he didn’t believe Cano was dealing with anything serious and was glad to see him not wait to alert the dugout.
The game marked the return of Ichiro, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. While the line is not pretty, he did see eight pitches in his first at bat and made solid contact a couple of times.
“I thought Ichi looked good,” said Servais. “I thought his timing wasn’t bad at all. He hit a couple of balls OK, one just foul. I liked what I saw. I thought he had a good idea of the strike zone like he always does. It was about what I expected.”
Ichiro said he was touched by the reception he received, which included loud ovations from the crowd of 8,499 when he first took the field and was announced before his first at-bat.
“I am just very grateful and very happy,” he said of his first game back with the Mariners. “It was just a great practice to be out there and be able to get some at-bats. More than that for me, it was a special moment for me to put a Mariners uniform on and be on the field again. That was very special for me.”
While he has missed two weeks of games, Ichiro said that he understands it is important not to try to go too hard out of the gates and do something his body is not ready for. Getting ready is more about feel than number of at-bats, and he said Day 1 everything felt good at the plate. He is scheduled to play again Monday.
On the hill, Mike Leake made his fourth start of the spring and threw 75 pitches. An error and a pop-up that wasn’t caught lead to longer innings for him. He gave up one run on eight hits with no walks and a strikeout. He was able to pitch around trouble and control the game.
Offensively, Daniel Vogelbach and Mike Zunino both stood out with two-out, two-strike RBIs. Vogelbach is now 11 for 23 with seven walks and one strikeout this spring. He leads the club in extra base hits.