Mariners’ Ty France leaves with injury; could Evan White be 1B option?

Aug 25, 2022, 2:41 PM | Updated: 5:57 pm

Mariners Ty France...

Ty France tosses the ball to first base during a game against the Angels on Aug. 5. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The Mariners may be in need of help at first base. Could a call to Triple-A be in order?

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Ty France left Seattle’s series opener against the Cleveland Guardians with a right calf bruise after just two innings on Thursday afternoon following not just one but two collisions at the bag. In the first inning, a throw from shortstop J.P. Crawford led France into the path of Guardians runner José Ramírez, whose leg clipped France’s calf. Then in the second inning, Cleveland’s Will Benson stepped on the back of France’s right foot as he ran across the bag on a groundout.

France, who was already noticeably limping after he flew out in his first plate appearance in the bottom of the first inning, threw his glove in frustration as he came off the field at the end of the second inning. Jake Lamb then replaced him at first base to start the third inning.

France is day to day with the injury, reports Mariners insider Shannon Drayer of Seattle Sports.

Though France was an All-Star this year, he has been mired in a slump throughout the second half of the season and was dropped to fifth in the Mariners’ batting order from his usual No. 2 spot earlier this week.

As for a possible answer should the Mariners need a first baseman, the man that France replaced at the position seems like a logical option if France needs to miss additional time. Evan White, Seattle’s first-round MLB Draft pick from 2017 who won the American League’s Gold Glove at first base in 2020, has been productive at Triple-A Tacoma since returning from hip and sports hernia injuries.

White had two rehab assignments cut short earlier this season, but since restarting another rehab stint with the Rainiers on Aug. 9, the 26-year-old White has slashed .229/.341/.629 for a .970 OPS in 11 games. While the batting average is low, the fact that White is doing damage when he hits the ball is a very good sign, with six of his eight hits going for extra bases – four home runs and two doubles. Also a good sign is that he’s walked five times to just six strikeouts over those 11 games.

White has played 84 career MLB games, the majority coming from when he served as Seattle’s primary first baseman in 2020. He struggled to handle major league pitching though did flash power at times, as he owns a .165/.235/.308 slash for a .543 OPS with 10 homers and 10 doubles as a member of the Mariners.

The Mariners acquired France in a trade late in the 2020 season, and when White suffered a left hip flexor injury that required surgery in 2021, France took the starting job at first base and ran with it.

One thing that has never been a question with White is his defense. He possesses remarkable athleticism and a strong arm for a first baseman, and his glovework is about as good as it gets at the position. It appears the injuries haven’t slowed down that aspect of his game.

It should be noted that the Mariners still have Carlos Santana on their roster, and the veteran switch-hitter is plenty capable at first base.

The Mariners opened a four-game set at T-Mobile Park against Cleveland on Thursday, while the Rainiers are set to play the third game of a six-game series at the Salt Lake Bees on Thursday night. White isn’t in Tacoma’s lineup, which could be an potential indication of the Mariners at least considering calling him up should France need time to heal or a trip to the injured list, but Rainiers director of media relations and baseball information Paul Braverman tweeted that it is a scheduled day off for White.

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Mariners’ Ty France leaves with injury; could Evan White be 1B option?