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 apparent arm injury on a freak collision reminiscent of the play that injured Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy last fall.
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 in question:
France has since had X-rays come back negative. He’ll undergo an MRI tomorrow, per Ryan Divish.
France, who will celebrate his 28th birthday on July 13, entered Thursday hitting .319/.393/.480 (155 OPS+) with 10 home runs in 69 games. FanGraphs’ wRC+, a catch-all metric that adjusts for ballpark among other variables, had France tied with Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez for 10th among qualified batters.
France missing any period of time would be 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 entered Thursday with 31-39 on the season, putting them on pace for around 70 wins. FanGraphs’ calculations had them with an 8.5 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.