That strained abdominal muscle that slowed Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano for the past two months? It turns out it’s a little more severe than previously believed.
Cano will undergo surgery Oct. 13 in Philadelphia to repair a sports hernia. The typical recovery period is six weeks, which means Cano should have few if any restrictions in his usual off-season training regimen.
“I always take four to six weeks where I don’t do anything,” he said prior to Friday’s game against Oakland at Safeco Field. “Just go on vacation, have fun and forget everything about baseball. Just refresh my mind.
“Everything is going to be normal. I’m going to start at the same time. I’ve just got to be careful after the surgery. I’m not supposed to lift anything heavy. Just be careful.”
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Cano suffered the injury July 28 and missed three games before returning to the lineup. Prior to Friday, he had batted .329 in 55 games since the injury with nine homers and 34 RBIs.
Playing through the injury did not make it worse, according to Dr. Edward Khalfayan, the club’s medical director. Tellingly, Cano was in the lineup Friday against the A’s and expects to play through the season-ending series.
“It’s one of those conditions,” Khalfayan said, “that athletes can continue to play with for some time if they’re comfortable enough. At some point, we usually perform surgery to repair it.”
Dr. William C. Meyers, a specialist in core muscle injuries, will perform the surgery. He is based at the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia.
Cano saw no reason to skip the season’s final three games.
“I’ve been playing like this for the last two months,” he said. “Why sit down for the next few days and just watch? I’ve still got to show up here and be here. I love the game so much, and I love to be out there.”
Cano said pain surfaces “when I try to run fast or move quick.” He said it typically lasts for a moment or two before subsiding.
“I was hoping not to (have) surgery,” he said, “but they did the tests two days ago, and it shows that I need to get surgery. But it’s good that we found out what it is.
“That’s better than just going home and wondering whether it was going to get heal 100 percent. But now, I’m going to have surgery, and when I come to spring training, I won’t have to worry about anything.”
While general manager Jerry Dipoto has yet to announce a decision on whether he plans to retain manager Lloyd McClendon, the rumor mill is already kicking up names of possible replacements.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com offers these three: Tim Bogar, Joe McEwing and Alex Cora.
Dipoto hired Bogar, 48, as a special assistant with the Los Angeles Angels after Bogar failed to get the full-time managerial job in Texas. Bogar replaced Ron Washington on an interim basis a year ago for the final 22 games.
McEwing, 42, is a former infielder who currently serves as third-base coach for the Chicago White Sox. Cora, 49, is a former infielder who currently serves as an ESPN analyst.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz and right-hander Felix Hernandez were picked as the Mariners’ player and pitcher of the year in balloting by the Seattle Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The organization also selected utilityman Brad Miller as the recipient of its Unsung Hero award. Chapter chairman Ryan Divish presented the awards to the three players in an on-field ceremony prior to the game.
Hernandez is the pitcher of the year for the seventh time in eight seasons. Hisashi Iwakuma was the 2013 recipient.
Cruz won the player of the year award in his first season with the club. Robinson Cano was the 2014 winner. Kyle Seager won the award in 2012 and 2013.
Miller is a first-time recipient as the Unsung Hero. Recent winners include Chris Young (2014), Raul Ibanez (2013), John Jaso (2012), Brendan Ryan (2011) and Jason Vargas (2010).
MORE THAN $1.2 MILLION RAISED
Mariners Care, the organization’s nonprofit foundation, raised $1,203,520 this season in conjunction with its corporate partners to help fund more than 1,500 charitable programs throughout the Pacific Northwest.
That pushes the organization’s fundraising efforts to more than $17 million since 2000. The primary beneficiaries have been “youth-oriented community service programs.”
Agencies funded this year included:
Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Seattle Children’s, United Way, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Page Ahead Children’s Literacy Program, Northwest Harvest, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
First baseman Jesus Montero and outfielder Tyler O’Neill are the organization’s co-minor league players of the year, as selected by club officials.
Montero, 25 is closing out the season with the big league club but batted .355 in 98 games at Triple-A Tacoma with 18 homers and 85 RBIs. O’Neill, 20, had 32 homers and 87 RBIs in 106 games at Hi-A Bakersfield.
The Mariners also selected right-hander Edwin Diaz and lefty Paul Fry as their minor league starting and relief pitchers of the year.
Diaz, 21, was 7-10 with a 3.82 ERA in 27 starts at Double-A Jackson and Bakersfield. Fry, 23, was 4-5 with nine saves and a 2.03 ERA in 50 games at Jackson and Bakersfield.
Outfielder Jabari Blash, 26, won the Heart & Hustle Award, which seeks to recognize a player for “exemplary play and leadership.” He batted .271 with 32 homers and 81 RBIs in 116 games at Jackson and Tacoma.
The five players will be recognized Saturday in a pregame ceremony along with Short-A Everett shortstop Drew Jackson and manager Rob Mummau.
The Northwest League picked Jackson, 22, as its player of the year after he batted .358 with 47 steals in 59 games. Mummau was picked as manager of the year after leading the AquaSox to a 42-34 record.
It was 15 years ago Saturday — Oct. 3, 2000 — that Edgar Martinez and John Olerud hit home runs in the 10th inning and lifted the Mariners to a 7-4 victory over Chicago in the first game of the American League Division Series.
Martinez’s homer was a two-run shot before Olerud pushed the lead to three runs. Both homers came against White Sox closer Keith Foulke.
The Mariners won the first two games at Chicago before completing a three-game sweep with a walk-off victory on Oct. 6 at Safeco Field.
Broadcaster (and former player) Mike Blowers will be inducted into the Washington State American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame on Nov. 14 in a banquet at the Clearwater Casino in Suquamish. … Carson Smith entered the weekend needing one strikeout to match Enrique Romo’s 1977 club rookie reliever record of 92. … Robinson Cano entered the weekend with a 13-game hitting streak, which was the longest current streak in the majors. … The Mariners had hit 195 homers prior to Friday, which was 59 more than last year’s total of 136.
The Mariners and Athletics continue their three-game series at 6:10 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. Lefty Roenis Elias (5-8, 3.89) will face Oakland left-hander Sean Nolin (1-2, 5.25).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.