That sound you just heard was the optimism of Mariners fans blowing up like the Hindenburg.
OK, so that last sentence was way over the top. But there must be at least a little bit of concern in Seattle with the news from MLB.com that Cliff Lee underwent foot surgery on Friday.
The surgery, which was performed by Dr. Bryan Burke, removed a floating bone spur in Lee’s left foot that broke from its attachment. The procedure will not require Lee to wear a cast. He’s expected to return to normal baseball activities in the next two to three weeks, which means Lee will be unable to participate in workouts when Mariners pitchers and catchers report to camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 18.
“We decided Lee should have the surgery as soon as possible, rather than try to pitch with the discomfort during the year,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “To get it out of the way and have it behind us is important.”
This procedure looks like a minor thing, and it’s not as if Lee showed any signs of health problems in the playoffs.
Besides, with the magic Zduriencik has been working lately, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he’s actually going to use the bone spur to clone a new and better Lee – and at half the price.
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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is back in the lineup after the team reinstated him from the 10-day disabled list on Saturday. Marte served the bare minimum on the DL after making a rapid recovery from the right oblique strain that sidelined him several weeks ago.
Prior to landing on the disabled list, the 29-year-old outfielder was off to a strong start. He slashed a robust .308/.366/.503 with six home runs, 10 stolen bases and an .869 OPS in 175 plate appearances with the team. This is the first time he’s dealt with an oblique issue, and the first DL stint he’s served since he suffered a bout of back tightness in 2016. While he has yet to prove he can bounce back to his pre-injury production levels, his quick recovery bodes well for a successful return to major-league play.
In a corresponding move, outfielder Jose Osuna was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. The move came as somewhat of a surprise, given that the Pirates elected to retain top prospect outfielder Austin Meadows rather than the more established Osuna. Meadows was recalled from Triple-A in the wake of Marte’s injury and has only played seven games at the major league level so far, but he’s already made a strong impression: he went 13-for-29 with three home runs, two stolen bases and five RBI since his call-up on May 18.