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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mariners Injury Update: Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, Corey Hart, Hisashi Iwakuma

By on 6/21/2014 06:00:00 AM

The Seattle Mariners entered Friday night's game against the Kansas City Royals with a record of 37-36, third in the American League West. They are staying within striking distance of a wild card berth despite having several key players on the disabled list. There is some good news on the injury front regarding Justin Smoak, Michael Saunders, Corey Hart and Hisashi Iwakuma.

As reported by Greg Johns of, Smoak went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday night. He's been on the disabled list since June 9 with a strained left quad and according to manager Lloyd McClendon, is likely to be ready to come off the disabled list when eligible next Wednesday.

Smoak is batting .208 with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 63 games this season. He is a career .225 hitter with 74 home runs and 233 RBI in 549 games.   

Saunders and Hart were scheduled to begin rehab assignments this weekend.  Saunders has been out with inflammation in the right shoulder and is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 26. He's batting .272 with four home runs and 25 RBI this season, in 147 at bats.  In his sixth Major League season, all with the Mariners, Saunders has a career batting average of .229 with 47 home runs and 173 RBI. 

Hart has been out since May 19 and is on a slower timetable, according to McClendon.
"Hart will DH mainly to start off, get him going again, get his legs under him, then eventually play some first base and outfield. Obviously when he comes back here, I want him swinging the bat well. But he needs some at-bats. He's been out a significant amount of time.It's not that easy up here. He's got to get some at-bats and get himself going again. And once he's ready, we'll bring him back."
Hart has struggled this year after missing all of last season due to microfracture surgery on both knees. Hart is batting .209 with five home runs and 17 RBI this season. He missed all of last year after having microfracture surgeries on both knees. Hart batted .270 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI in 2012.  In his 10th Major League season, Hart has a career batting average of .273 with 159 home runs and 525 RBI.

As for Iwakuma, he threw on flat ground instead of off the bullpen mound on Wednesday, but made his scheduled start last night against the Royals. 

For the Mariners to continue to compete and be a factor later in the season, they will need healthy components, which include Smoak, Saunders, Hart and Iwakuma. With the latest news, it appears each will be healthy, which is good news for the Mariners chances. 

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