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Rangers, Mariners begin series dealing with key injuries

Sports Xchange - Tuesday 15th May, 2018

The Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers will be without key players for the first game of a short two-game series starting Tuesday at Safeco Field in Seattle.

The Mariners, just off the road after an eight-day, seven-game, three-city, two-country road trip, will be without second baseman Robinson Cano, who suffered a fractured fifth metacarpal in his right hand when he was stuck by a pitch on Sunday in Detroit.

Texas will likely be without third baseman Adrian Beltre, who aggravated his left hamstring in the Rangers' loss Sunday in Houston. Beltre is likely headed back to the disabled list, with that decision to be made Tuesday.

The Rangers will send left-hander Mike Minor (3-2, 4.73 ERA) to the mound for the series opener and Seattle will counter with right-hander Mike Leake (4-3, 5.72).

Cano will see a hand specialist on Tuesday in Philadelphia to determine whether surgery is needed. If he does go under the knife, Cano would likely be sidelined for much of the first half of the season. He has started every game for the Mariners this year and has never missed more than 12 games in a season since 2006 with the New York Yankees.

"I knew right away," said Cano, whose entire hand and wrist were encased in a soft cast after Sunday's game. "It's kind of the same feeling when I broke my pinkie toe in Japan (during an offseason tour in 2015). Of course it's frustrating, the way we've been playing. It can be something worse, but I have to take the time and recover 100 percent and come back and play again."

Seattle heads home after thrilling 1-0 win over Minnesota on Monday when Dee Gordon scored from second base in the eighth inning on a wild throw by Twins first baseman Logan Morrison on a bunt by Jean Segura.

The game began an hour and 40 minutes later than scheduled because of a rain delay in Minneapolis. Monday's game was originally set for April 8 but was postponed because of inclement weather. The last thing the Mariners needed was a delayed game and an even later flight home, but at least they have a victory to carry back with them.

The Rangers travel to the Pacific Northwest on the heels of back-to-back 6-1 losses in Houston on Saturday and Sunday. The series finale against the Astros was particularly damaging to Texas as third baseman Adrian Beltre aggravated his left hamstring and exited the loss in the seventh inning.

Beltre is likely headed back to the disabled list, with the decision to be made Tuesday before the game in Seattle. He said the injury felt similar to when he strained a hamstring earlier this year and was forced to miss 12 games from April 25 to May 8.

Sunday's game was just his fourth game back, and he did not go on a rehab assignment before being activated last Tuesday.

"Obviously, when you reaggravate a previous injury (it's frustrating)," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I don't have a timeline. We'll know more when we get to Seattle. With Adrian, he has been in these situations before. He manages them well. We'll sit down and talk with him and see where he is at."

Beltre stayed with the Rangers and flew to Seattle rather than return to Arlington for further examination.

"I don't think it ever happened to me like this, after I came back from an injury, to injure the same leg again," Beltre told MLB.com. "I don't know if it was a reinjury or a new one. I'm not happy about it, but I'll deal with it."

Minor is set to make his eighth start of the season. He has gone 2-1 with a 5.68 ERA in his past three starts, permitting four-plus runs in two of those games to raise his season ERA from 3.86 to 4.72.

Minor has the most wins among Texas starters and is tied with closer Keone Kela for most on staff. Minor took the loss in Rangers' 7-4 defeat last Tuesday at home versus Detroit.

Minor will pitch on extra days' rest due to off days last Thursday and Monday. He is 1-1 with a 1.65 ERA (3 ER/16 1/3 IP) in five games, two of them starts, in his career against Seattle. Minor will be making the first start of his career at Safeco Field.

Leake will make his ninth start of the season against Texas. He captured his fourth win of the year in his most recent start, a 9-3 Mariners victory on May 10 at Toronto in which he worked seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits.

Leake is 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA with 24 strikeouts and four walks in five career starts against the Rangers.

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