SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners may need OF help as Ben Gamel out with oblique strain

Mar 5, 2018, 8:57 AM | Updated: 10:24 am
Ben Gamel is the second Mariners outfielder in less than a year to suffer an oblique strain. (AP)...
Ben Gamel is the second Mariners outfielder in less than a year to suffer an oblique strain. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Mariners left fielder Ben Gamel, who has been sidelined since tweaking his back in early hitting work last Friday, has been diagnosed with an oblique strain. He is expected to miss four to six weeks.

Gamel, who underwent an MRI late last week, was seen Monday morning in Peoria by Mariners team doctor Dr. Edward Khalfayan, who gave the diagnosis of a right oblique strain. He is the second Mariners outfielder in the last two years to suffer an oblique strain – Mitch Haniger was out from April 26 to June 11 last season with a similar injury.

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Gamel exits as Guillermo Heredia returns to the field after offseason shoulder surgery. While Heredia has been able to hit for some time now, he has yet to play the field in spring training and is not expected to do so until next week. Along with Heredia, Haniger is not 100 percent as he has missed all of Cactus League play due to hand soreness/tendinitis.

With the loss of Gamel, the Mariners find themselves thin in the outfield.

Outfield depth currently in camp includes Cameron Perkins, Junior Lake, Braden Bishop, Ian Miller and John Andreoli, with only Perkins and Lake having limited big league experience. Kirk Niewenhuis, who has the most big league experience of the invited outfielders in spring training, is currently sidelined with a hamstring strain.

With Heredia and Haniger coming off injury and the uncertainty that comes with an oblique strain, the Mariners may need to look outside the organization for help. There is the possibility of a trade or there are still a number of free agents who could fill the 4th outfielder role, including Ichiro Suzuki. I would be surprised if we didn’t see a new face in Peoria soon.

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