Veteran catcher Jesus Sucre is expected to miss at least six months after undergoing surgery this week to repair a broken fibula and a severely sprained ankle in his right leg, the Mariners say.
Sucre, 27, suffered the injuries on a slide at second base Jan. 17 while playing for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League playoffs.
Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said Sucre is undergoing therapy in Seattle.
Sucre, a native Venezuelan, batted .157 last season for the Mariners in 52 big-league games and has a .178 average over 81 games in parts of three seasons. He is projected as a likely candidate to open this season at Triple-A Tacoma.
Griffin had better news on several other players Thursday, including a positive report on right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma. Griffin spoke at the Mariners’ annual pre-spring training media luncheon at Safeco Field.
The Mariners re-signed Iwakuma to a one-year deal with two vesting options after his pending three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers hit a snag because of unspecified health concerns.
Griffin said he was “100 percent” comfortable with Iwakuma’s health.
“I don’t have any concerns,” Griffin said. “Neither does our orthopedist or our physician — or we wouldn’t have got him back. I don’t know what happened there (with the Dodgers). I’m not going to speculate, but I’m glad that he’s back here.”
▪ Second baseman Robinson Cano is working out in the Dominican Republic and “not having any issues” after undergoing surgery in October to repair a sports hernia.
▪ Left-handed reliever Charlie Furbush is recovering from what Griffin termed “tendinitis in his left shoulder.” The ailment forced Furbush to miss the second half of last season.
“He’s on a throwing program,” Griffin said. “He’s throwing very well and not having any discomfort. He’ll go to spring training, and we’ll go slowly with him and monitor his progress. But everything seems to be going very well with him.”
▪ Left-handed pitcher James Paxton has slimmed down and shows no lingering problems with the torn fingernail that derailed his late-season comeback from a strained back muscle.
“It’s completely grown out now,” Griffin said. “It’s not an issue. Another thing about Paxton is he’s lost 20 pounds. He’s more athletic. He’s moving better. He’s in a really good position right now to go to spring training and compete.”
While general manager Jerry Dipoto made it a priority this offseason to acquire players with proven on-base skills, he re-emphasized his desire for players throughout the organization to be aggressive at the plate.
“We don’t want passive hitters,” he said. “We’re not going to judge what happens or the way we assess our success or failure based on their ability to draw a walk.
“That’s an advantage, but … I’ll share this: I had a conversation (recently) with D.J. Peterson, our former (2013) first-rounder. D.J. did not have a great year last year, but he has great talent.
“He’s got upside ability that he has to tap back into. The way he controls the strike zone may differ from a guy like (outfielder) Boog Powell. D.J., we want him to get into that 2-0, 2-1 and 3-1 count and then go do some damage.
“Boog Powell is getting into those counts so he can find a way on base. If both of them are controlling the zone in that way, we will score runs.
“There’s a difference between what Nori Aoki does and what Nelson Cruz does. And we want there to be a difference. That’s how you score runs. So it’s not one standard philosophy that everyone adheres to.”
The Mariners confirmed 15 nonroster invites to big-league camp, including eight players new to the organization.
But not first baseman Travis Ishikawa, a former Federal Way standout. Not yet. The two sides appear close to an agreement.
“All of our negotiations start with an interaction with the player,” said Tom Allison, the club’s vice president of player personnel. “To get from that initial negotiation to the finish line, which is a signed contract, there are a lot of steps in-between.
“Right now, we haven’t done that with Travis.”
Dipoto confirmed that the Mariners did reach that point Thursday with first baseman Gaby Sanchez, an All-Star in 2011 with the Marlins who spent last season playing in Japan.
“We look forward to watching (Sanchez) compete with Jesus Montero and Stefen Romero and perhaps another body or two along the way for that partner job with Adam Lind at first base,” Dipoto said.
The confirmed list of nonroster camp invites:
Left-handed pitchers (3): Paul Fry, Danny Hultzen and Brad Mills. Right-handed pitchers (4): Casey Coleman, Blake Parker, Donn Roach and Skyline High’s Adrian Sampson. Catchers (1): Marcus Littlewood. Infielders (4): Benji Gonzalez, Ed Lucas, Sanchez and Tyler Smith. Outfielders (3): Mike Baxter, Dan Robertson and Dario Pizzano.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners