Mariners’ Ty France suffered Grade 2 flexor strain, will hit injured list after freak collision

Seattle Mariners first baseman Ty France, one of the top-performing hitters in Major League Baseball this season, exited Thursday’s 2-1 victory against the Oakland Athletics (box score) in the fifth inning after suffering an arm injury on a freak collision reminiscent of the play that injured Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy last fall.

After Friday’s game against the Angels, France told that he has a Grade 2 flexor strain and will hit the injured list. He also indicated that he’s hopeful just rest and treatment will mean he won’t miss a long period of time. This suggests it isn’t as serious an injury as the Muncy play and won’t require surgery. 

France was attempting to corral a throw when Athletics infielder Sheldon Neuse inadvertently ran into his extended arm. He went down in pain and left the game. Super-utility player Dylan Moore took over at first base. Here’s the play where France got injured:

France had X-rays come back negative and it appears the MRI is what revealed the flexor damage.

France, who will celebrate his 28th birthday on July 13, is hitting .316/.390/.476 (154 OPS+) with 10 home runs in 70 games. FanGraphs’ wRC+, a catch-all metric that adjusts for ballpark among other variables, has France 11th among qualified batters.

France missing any period of time is an unfortunate development for a Mariners team that is already facing an uphill battle to break the longest playoff drought in the sport. The Mariners enter Saturday 33-39 on the season, putting them on pace for around 74 wins. FanGraphs’ calculations had them with a 12.5 percent shot at making the postseason, which would be their first trip to October since 2001.

The Mariners originally acquired France as part of a seven-player trade at the 2020 deadline. Seattle also netted outfielder Taylor Trammell, catcher Luis Torrens, and reliever Andrés Muñoz in that deal. All four of those players are currently part of the Mariners’ active roster.

Evan White, the young first baseman the Mariners signed to a six-year extension worth $24 million before he made his big-league debut, has yet to play this season after undergoing a sports hernia surgery in the spring. The Mariners, then, would likely have to resort to playing an infielder at the cold corner, be it the aforementioned Moore, Kevin Padlo, or Abraham Toro. Moore started there Friday. 

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