SEATTLE -- Looking for a positive for a guy who has been the victim of two wicked bad hops in the last few weeks that first bruised his thumb and then broke his nose and cheek on Friday night?
"I don't even feel my thumb anymore," Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak said, his dry humor covering the frustration of now being on the 15-day disabled list following his facial injuries.
Smoak saw a second specialist Saturday night and was told neither fracture was displaced and he didn't need surgery. So his wounds will be allowed to heal on their own with the idea that he should be on track to return about the time his 15-day stint ends on Aug. 28.
"He'll start playing some catch and hitting sometime this coming week," manager Eric Wedge said. "Obviously, he won't be taking ground balls for a while. We have to make sure he's OK with the face and eye and whatnot. And we'll evaluate him again when we get back off the [next] road trip. He's going to go with us and we'll go from there."
Smoak can only shake his head about his latest misfortune, which came in the second inning of his first game back after missing seven games with the thumb injury when a hard smash by Boston's Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught him flush in the bill of his cap as he lowered his head at the last second.
The ball drove through the hat and smashed into the bridge of his nose, leaving him sporting a nice black eye now and a very sore nose. But, yeah, it could have been worse.
"It didn't feel good, I know that," Smoak said. "But the doctor said thank God it hit the hat. If it didn't, it could have been bad."
Smoak, who never had broken any bones before, said the doctors said he'll need to wear a plastic guard that extends over his left cheek when he bats right-handed initially. But he's not going any further than that.
"They're going to try to get me to wear a mask on the field, but that ain't gonna happen," he said.