The news Friday on All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano was about as good as the Mariners could have hoped for after watching him limp from the field in the third inning of Wednesday’s 9-6 victory at Atlanta.
Results from a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam Thursday on Cano showed only a low degree of inflammation in his left hamstring. Manager Scott Servais termed it "as slight as you can get on the grade one scale."
That amounted to a collective sigh of relief throughout the organization seeking to end a 15-year postseason drought. They began Friday trailing Minnesota by one-half game for the American League’s final wild-card berth.
"When he initially comes out of the game," manager Scott Servais said, "it’s not a good feeling. He really didn’t talk much. He just put his head down and walked off the field."
While Cano didn’t start Friday night’s series opener against the Yankees in New York, he was available for pinch-hitting duty and appears likely to start Saturday when the series continues with an afternoon game.
"Tonight, we’ll just play it safe," Servais said. He’ll be able to pinch-hit off the bench late if we need him. But with a night game and a quick turnaround (Saturday), we’ll try to give him one more day and see where he’s at."
Cano, 34, is batting .277 with 19 homers and 78 RBIs in 116 games.
"We need the bat in the lineup," Servais said. "He’s a big part of what we do offensively. I'm not expecting him to be running at 100 percent, but he’s not a fast guy by nature anyway. But having the bat in the lineup will be huge."
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners