The overnight news Saturday from Japan initially sent a shiver through the Mariners when All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano suffered a broken pinkie toe on his right foot when hit by a pitch.
Those concerns eased after the Mariners confirmed initial reports that Cano, 32, will likely miss just three to four weeks because of a nondisplaced fracture.
Cano is expected to resume normal off-season activities by mid-December and be 100 percent when the club opens full-squad spring workouts Feb. 25 in Peoria, Arizona.
“It’s part of the game, getting hurt,” Cano told MLB.com. “I'll be fine.”
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Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik released a statement that said the “injury will not require a cast or treatment, just rest.” The statement also said Cano reported “no pain” in a conversation with trainer Rick Griffin.
The injury occurred when Cano was hit by a pitch from Yuki Nishi in the seventh inning of 4-0 loss to Japan’s national team at the Tokyo Dome. Cano walked to first base before leaving the game for a pinch runner.
Cano was then taken to a nearby hospital for X-rays, which revealed the broken toe.
Four Japanese pitchers combined on a no-hitter over a touring team of Major League players and now hold a 3-0 edge in the five-game series, which continued Sunday at the Tokyo Dome.
The final game is Tuesday in Sapporo, although the teams will play an exhibition game Thursday in Okinawa before the MLB players return home.
Cano was 2 for 10 in three games against Japan after batting .314 with 14 homers and 82 RBIs over 157 games in his first season with the Mariners after signing a 10-year, $240 million deal as a free agent.
His injury came one day after Mariners teammate Hisashi Iwakuma gave up five runs and 10 hits over four innings against his countrymen in an 8-4 loss. Iwakuma is not expected to pitch again in the series.
RAMIREZ ON ROLL
Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez followed up a strong winter debut by pitching six no-hit innings Friday for Lara before settling for a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Ramirez, 24, struck out five and walked one before exiting what was then a scoreless game. He allowed two unearned runs and five hits over six innings in his only previous outing for Lara.
The Mariners face a decision next spring on Ramirez, who was 1-6 with a 5.26 ERA this season in 17 games, including 14 starts. He is out of options, which means he can’t be sent back to the minors without clearing waivers.
Ramirez was also 6-5 with a 3.65 ERA this season in 15 games at Triple-A Tacoma.
Infielder Patrick Kivlehan, who spent most of the season at Double-A Jackson, is this year’s recipient of the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award in the Arizona Fall League.
The award is determined through a vote of AFL managers and coaches, and it is given in memory of Stenson, an outfield prospect in the Reds’ organization who died in a 2003 carjacking.
Kivlehan, 24, is the first Mariners’ prospect to win the award in its 11-year history. He batted .280 (26 for 93) with four homers and 22 RBIs in 24 games for the Surprise Saguaros.
The other Stenson nominees were: Glendale outfielder Steven Moya (Tigers), Mesa outfielder Cal Towey (Angels), Peoria 3B Hunter Dozier (Royals), Salt River shortstop Austin Nola (Marlins) and Scottsdale outfielder Aaron Judge (Yankees).
The Mariners selected Kivlehan in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. He was recently cited by MiLB.com as the organization’s No. 6 prospect.
Kivlehan opened the season by batting .282 with nine homers and 35 RBIs in 34 games at High-A High Desert before a May 10 promotion moved him to Jackson, where he batted .300 with 11 homers and 68 RBIs in 104 games.