Mariners lose Bloomquist to DL
Utilityman could miss rest of year; Hulett recalled from Triple-A
SEATTLE -- Given that Mariners utilityman Willie Bloomquist is known for his hustle, it wasn't surprising that his injury Saturday night came on a play that demanded maximum effort.With the score tied in the bottom of the 10th inning, Bloomquist flew down the first-base line to beat out a relay throw and set the Mariners up with a good chance to win the game. But when he crossed the bag, the speedster pulled up and grabbed the upper part of his right leg before crumpling onto the grass. The official diagnosis is a strained right hamstring, and Bloomquist was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, while infielder Tug Hulett was called up from Triple-A Tacoma. Hulett made his Major League debut with Seattle in a short July stint and has had a solid year in the Minor Leagues. And while Bloomquist is on the 15-day DL, the injury doesn't look good. "Willie really pulled that hamstring. ... It's a very significant pull, and I don't know if we'll see Willie again the rest of this year," manager Jim Riggleman said. "Willie plays so hard that if you get him back, you know he's going to go hard so you've got to make sure the thing is absolutely 100 percent healthy before you bring him back because he'll pull it again." Bloomquist is known for busting down the line on nearly every ground ball and hitting the bag hard with his foot, but head trainer Rick Griffin said the injury actually occurred after he had beaten the throw. "He hit the base, and it was after he hit the base. His first step he tried to decelerate; he tried to stop really quick," Griffin said. "So obviously, the best thing to do would have been to just keep running." Griffin said Bloomquist will probably get an MRI on Tuesday, which will show "how big the area is, how much inflammation and swelling and bleeding there is." That will allow for a better estimate of how much time he will miss. Bloomquist missed the last month of the year in 2005 thanks to a strained left hamstring, and Griffin said the current injury was worse than that one.
Despite not being a regular in the starting lineup, Bloomquist was having a fine year -- hitting .279 with a .377 on-base percentage and 14 stolen bases in 71 games (40 starts). But the statistics tell little about his true value to the team."Willie's the jack-of-all-trades, you can put him anywhere on the field," Riggleman said. "He's a pinch-runner; he's a high-on base-percentage guy coming off the bench. He's a nice weapon to have, and we're going to miss him." Bloomquist has split time in center field with Jeremy Reed this year and can also give infielders a day off -- Riggleman said that Bloomquist was supposed to replace Yuniesky Betancourt on Sunday before the injury. Miguel Cairo and Hulett will be preparing to fill that backup role at shortstop if needed.
Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.