ARLINGTON, Texas — It was a scary-looking injury at the time. In Saturday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs, Dustin Ackley dived for a low liner and his glove got caught on the Safeco Field turf in center field. The force of his body rolled over on the glove and hand, badly spraining his thumb.
It looked as though Ackley could be sidelined for some time.
Instead, he was back in center field Tuesday against the Texas Rangers.
Ackley had his left thumb heavily taped during pregame and in the game as a precaution.
“It feels good,” he said. “I went and hit in the cage and everything felt pretty good. If it was hindering me in any way, I think it would affect my performance and they would shut me down. It felt fine.”
Ackley didn’t play Sunday. With the off day Monday, he got two full days of rest and treatment.
“Those two days were huge, just to rest it and get the swelling out,” Ackley said. “It’s still a little sore. But it’s fine enough to play.”
It helps that the sprain is on the left hand, which is Ackley’s top hand when he hits.
“I think the top hand is a little less active than the thumb on the bottom hand,” he said. “That helps.”
As for the play that he suffered the injury on, Ackley said he believes he’s learned something from it.
“I think you can just keep your thumb up is all you can do,” he said. “It’s something you can’t think about when you are going for a ball. But it’s something you have to be conscious about it now since I’ve done it.”
A RETURN TO CLOSING?
With each passing outing, Tom Wilhelmsen moves closer to becoming a closer again. The hard-throwing reliever lost that job June 12 with an implosion against the Houston Astros.
Since then, Wilhelmsen has made six appearances as a set-up man, giving up three runs in six innings pitched. Through Monday, he had pitched 22/3 scoreless innings in his last three appearances and hadn’t allowed a base runner.
In Tuesday’s 9-2 victory at Texas, he pitched a scoreless ninth inning, allowing one hit.
“He’s been much more consistent and much more like his old self,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said before the game.
Ideally, Wedge would like to give Wilhelmsen a save situation with a clean inning and a little cushion. But he knows he can’t sit and wait for it.
“It’s tough to control that,” Wedge said. “You just want to try and put him in a good position. But sometimes the game doesn’t let you do that.”
The Mariners will send right-hander Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.70 ERA) to the mound Wednesday. The Rangers will go with left-hander Derek Holland (6-4, 3.14). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.ryan.divish@ thenewstribune.com