Mariners notebook: Hamstring issue forces Beckham to bench

Seattle’s shortstop pulled his hamstring running the bases Sunday in Chicago.

By Ryan Divish

The Seattle Times

KANSAS CITY — With the way the Mariners have been scoring runs of late, Tim Beckham thought the possibility of having to try score from first base or second base on multiple occasions with a tight right hamstring might not be the best plan for him to remain healthy.

Then again, it was mentioned to him that with the way the Mariners are belting home runs this season, his baserunning might be more trotting than sprinting.

“I know, right?” he said. “But I want to continue to be a part of this. I don’t want to go out and be a superhero on April 8th. I want to be here for the team throughout the season.”

So after testing out his hamstring early Monday afternoon and still feeling some residual tightness, Beckham was not penciled into the lineup for the series opener vs. the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Utility player Dylan Moore got the start at shortstop instead.

“We are going to take it a day at a time,” manager Scott Servais said. “He’d probably be available late in the game to pinch hit if we really needed it. With where we are at in the season, we’ll give him another day and hopefully he’ll be fine tomorrow. He’s swinging the bat really well right now and it’s tough to take him out of the lineup. But we are doing the right thing being out of ahead of it before it blows up into something worse.”

Beckham has had it happen before with other injuries and he won’t make the mistake again.

Last season with the Orioles, Beckham suffered a left groin strain on April 25. But really the issue was in his abdomen where there were tears on both sides of his groin. He’d been playing through discomfort in his right side for the past four seasons and it was followed by discomfort in spring training and an eventual tear in the left side. He had surgery to repair both tears and was out until June 25.

“I want to keep this to a one day thing as opposed to going out and pushing it,” he said. “I just want to be smart about it, knowing I missed 2 1/2 months last year. I don’t want to miss any more time than I have to. It’s not anything bad but I don’t want to aggravate it.”

He first felt the tightness in Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the White Sox. He was on first base when Daniel Vogelbach smashed a bases-loaded double to the gap in right-center. Beckham could feel it tighten up a little as he rounded second base. He still scored on the play.

“I kept running, but I was kind of coasting in because I knew I could score on it,” he said.

The Mariners removed him from the game immediately in hopes he’d be ready to play today. But the tightness was still there when he did some running with athletic trainer Rob Nodine watching.

“Just a little bit when I go from 50 to 75 or 80 percent,” he said. “I feel it pull just a little bit. But there’s no pain, no soreness, it’s just tight.”

Smith sits as scheduled

How did Servais solve the conundrum of which two of his three first baseman/designated hitters — Jay Bruce, Edwin Encarnacion and Daniel Vogelbach — he’d start vs. the Royals?

Well, he hedged it and went with all of them.

Instead of having to sit one of his three mashers, who each homered in the previous series with the White Sox, he sat centerfielder Mallex Smith and moved Mitch Haniger from right field to center field. Bruce got the start in right while Encarnacion started at first base and Vogelbach was at DH.

Servais wasn’t trying to be diplomatic to the trio. Giving Smith a day off in this series had been part of the prepared schedule.

“We are going to stay with the plan,” Servais said. “Sometimes when you set plans you drift away from them. But he did not have spring training. He’s not going to play 18 consecutive days which is what we are in a stretch of right now. We’ll give him today, but he could be in there later tonight and certainly expect (him) to be in there tomorrow.”

Dings and dents

Right-hander Shawn Armstrong (oblique strain) made his first appearance on his rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma on Monday. He pitched one scoreless inning, allowing a double and striking out two batters.

Right-hander Gerson Bautista (pectoral strain) is playing catch and throwing long toss, but has not thrown off of a mound yet.

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