Seattle Mariners

Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop returns to clubhouse, on mend from procedure to repair lacerated spleen

Considering how the past two weeks have played out, any sort of return to normalcy was probably welcome for Seattle Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop, who returned to Seattle’s clubhouse Monday afternoon.

Bishop appeared healthier, and was glad to be back with his teammates after an alarming series of events sent him to the hospital with a lacerated spleen earlier this month.

“I think anything’s going to be better than what I was feeling,” Bishop said. “It was something I would not wish upon anybody.”

Bishop, 25, was removed following the fourth inning from the Mariners’ loss to Houston on June 4. He caught a fly ball in center field to open that frame, and later said after making that catch, he couldn’t stand up straight. He went through a series of tests with trainers after feeling his trapezius lock up, but no definitive diagnosis was made that night.

“It’s just very uncomfortable,” he said that night, sitting in the chair at his locker. “The doctor was stumped, I was stumped. We just had no idea what it was.”

Bishop saw another doctor the next morning, and was immediately admitted to Harborview Medical Center.

“The look on his face told me it wasn’t something small,” Bishop said. “We actually wound up walking five blocks to the Harborview ER and they did a CT, and they found there was a torn blood vessel in my spleen. Basically all within two-and-a-half hours I was going in for a procedure to glue it shut, stop the bleeding. It was really scary.”

The injury was eventually connected to an earlier game Bishop played with Triple-A Tacoma, when he was hit in the ribs by a pitch. Several days passed before the Mariners played the Astros, and Bishop said he didn’t feel anything abnormal until that point.

“I’ve been hit a lot,” Bishop said. “It felt like a bruise. It didn’t hurt to hit, to throw, to run. I was like, ‘As long as that doesn’t affect my play, I’m good.’ Come the fourth inning of that game against Houston, I couldn’t stand up straight.”

He said he knew at that point it was time to say something, and the shoulder pain he was feeling that night was later linked to the spleen laceration.

“I think it was just a culmination of constant bleeding that just filled up my stomach to the point where I couldn’t function anymore,” Bishop said. “Once the blood had filled my stomach, the shoulder was kind of the relative pain. That’s where you usually feel it.”

Bishop said the first four days of recovery after the procedure were uncomfortable and painful, and doctors told him it could take more than a week for his abdomen to feel less pressure. He said he was in the hospital for 24 hours, and had difficulty eating the first two days after the procedure, because of the nature of the injury.

He estimated he has lost 5-6 pounds during the past two weeks, but said his ability to eat more regularly the past few days has been promising. He said he was told “no jarring activity” at this time, but hopes to start slowly riding the bike or swimming as his recovery progresses.

“No jogging or running or shagging, but I can walk around and do daily life,” Bishop said.

There is no timetable for Bishop’s return, though he is hopeful to return to the field as the 2019 season winds down.

“I think it’s a little uncertain,” Bishop said. “Obviously anytime you’re dealing with an organ, you don’t want to rush it. I think this is the one time and the one injury I’ve had where I don’t want to rush it either. Luckily, they fixed the problem, and I’m sure it will be a slow recovery, but if I can get back in six weeks, eight weeks, I would be happy with that. Get two months of the season.”

Lauren Smith covers the Seattle Mariners for The News Tribune. She previously covered high school sports at TNT and The Olympian, beginning in 2015. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and Emerald Ridge High School.