As manager Scott Servais joked Saturday, he wasn’t wrong in predicting injured shortstop Jean Segura would get back on the field this weekend in Texas.
"We did get him on the field," Servais pointed out. "Just not in the game."
Segura tested his recovery from a high ankle sprain Saturday by running the bases and moving laterally to field ground balls in an early workout. Barring day-after problems, he will likely start a rehab assignment Monday at Triple-A Tacoma.
"I feel I’m close," Segura said. "The more things I do, the better I feel. I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’m moving well. I think by Monday, I should be much better."
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Segura suffered the injury June 1 on a slide at second base in a 6-3 loss to Colorado at Safeco Field. Initial indications suggested Segura might miss up to two months, but Servais targeted this weekend as a possible return date.
"I’m happy he’s recovered as quickly as he has," Servais said. "It could have been a lot worse."
Tentative plans call for Segura to be the designated hitter Monday for Tacoma in a 7:05 p.m. game against Salt Lake (Angels) at Cheney Stadium. Segura would play shortstop Tuesday and, if all goes well, return Wednesday to the Mariners.
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to pitch five or six innings Monday for the Rainiers in a rehab start in his recovery from a sore shoulder that worsened in a May 3 start against the Los Angeles Angels.
Felix Hernandez was scheduled to make his third rehab start Saturday at Tacoma in his recovery from bursitis in his shoulder, which surfaced in an April 25 start at Detroit.
Segura, Hernandez and Iwakuma should all return to active duty within a week.
Servais said Segura, when he returns, will reclaim his job as the club’s leadoff hitter even though Ben Gamel, through Friday, is batting .347, which would lead the American League if he had 14 more plate appearances.
Segura is batting .341, which also would lead the league if he had 15 more plate appearances. Gamel has a slight edge in on-base percentage, through Friday, at .414 to .391.
"We’re going to leave those two guys at the top, Segura and (Mitch) Haniger," Servais said. "Then Gamel will fit very nicely at seven or whatever.
"There will be times when we’ll move it around and mix it up a little bit, but I don't see any reason why you’d put Jean Segura anywhere other than (leadoff)."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners