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Servais: Mariners 3B Kyle Seager close to rehab assignment in minors

Kyle Seager can return to the Mariners from his hand injury on May 25. (Getty)

There’s still over three weeks before Kyle Seager can get back in the Seattle Mariners’ lineup, but his recovery from hand surgery has reached the point where we’ll be able to follow his progress closely.

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The one-time All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman has been out of action since late in spring training when he suffered a hand injury that required surgery, resulting in his first trip to the injured list of his major league career. But over the weekend he started taking grounders before games at T-Mobile Park, and Tuesday he was taking cuts during batting practice for the first time since the surgery.

“I was very excited about what I saw,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said Wednesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom about Seager’s first BP back. “He looked really good. Pain-free, swinging the bat OK. … He’s progressing along really nicely.”

So nicely that Seager’s return to competition is imminent. Servais added that Seager will begin a rehab assignment in the minor leagues while the Mariners are out on their upcoming road trip, which begins Friday in Cleveland and goes through May 12 with stops in New York and Boston.

“(Seager) will start gathering some at-bats and getting some momentum going,” Servais said.

Seager, who will be eligible to come off the 60-day IL on May 25, came into spring training looking like a new man. He slimmed down and added flexibility in the offseason, concentrating his workouts on ways that could open him up to do more at the plate following back-to-back seasons of sub-.250 batting averages.

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But just when everything seemed to be heading in the right direction for the 31-year-old Seager, he awkwardly rolled over his hand on a diving defensive play and found himself out of action for two months.

The Mariners will be glad to have Seager back, not only because he has hit 20 home runs or more in each of his seven full MLB seasons, but because he’ll give Seattle a much-needed upgrade defensively.

“Just the stability that he brings – you know what you’re gonna get from Kyle every night,” Servais said. “Good competitor, gives you great effort, and certainly defensively we look forward to getting him back out there.”

Servais covered several more Mariners topics during the interview, including his thoughts on the strong starts to the season for Marco Gonzales and Félix Hernández. You can listen to the full interview in the player embedded in this post or download the podcast at this link.

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