CINCINNATI — Ketel Marte’s first thought as pain began pulsing through his hand Saturday afternoon after he stole second base in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over Cincinnati was that he had again broken his thumb.
Marte knows that feeling all too well.
He suffered a broken thumb last season while playing at Triple-A Tacoma when the Mariners were poised to promote him to the big leagues. He spent nearly six weeks on the disabled list.
This time, his injury doesn’t appear to be as bad.
An X-ray revealed no broken bones or major injury beyond a sprain. A relieved Marte insisted "bueno, bueno (good, good)" afterward, but the Mariners have yet to determine whether he will need to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
"There’s nothing broken or anything like that," manager Scott Servais said, "but it’s pretty sore. We’ve got to make a decision pretty quick."
Marte’s injury came just one week after the Mariners optioned utilityman Luis Sardinas to Tacoma in order to gain increased playing time. They replaced Sardinas with Shawn O’Malley, whose defensive skills at shortstop are less advanced.
O’Malley replaced Marte over the final 4 1/2 innings in Saturday’s victory.
The Mariners, as a precaution, summoned shortstop Chris Taylor from Tacoma in order for him to be available, if needed, for the series finale at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time Sunday at Great American Ballpark.
Recalling Sardinas, at this point, is not permitted under the rules. Players who are optioned to the minors can’t be recalled for 10 days unless they replace a player who goes on the disabled list.
Marte led off the fifth inning with an infield single and, with one out, stole second. His left hand, with fingers splayed, caught the dirt and the bag and jammed the thumb.
"When I got to second, about 10 seconds afterward, the pain started a lot," he said. "When I stole third, I told Manny (Acta, the third-base coach), `I think I broke my (thumb) again.’ After we got three outs, they pulled me out of the game."
Afterward, a relieved Marte predicted a quick return.
"I think I’ll be out for a couple of days," he said. "It’s not like last year. It doesn’t feel like last year. I feel a little bit better now.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners