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Mariners lose Cruz in Cactus League game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Mariners always have their share of injuries and now they can add Nelson Cruz to the list.

The power-hitting designated hitter strained his right quad sprinting out of the batter’s box after smacking a run-scoring single during the top of the first inning of Seattle’s 8-7 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday at Salt River Fields.

He was immediately replaced on the base path by pinch-runner Daniel Vogelbach and sent back to Mariners camp in nearby Peoria, Ariz., to have the leg examined.

“They’ll take a look at it there and probably do some tests on it tonight and tomorrow,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “He strained his quad a little bit. I don’t know any more than that. He felt it the first two steps out of the box. Obviously, he grabbed it. You could tell because he wasn’t running down the line at all. He knew right away there was an issue. We just have to keep our fingers crossed.”

It’s been the usual bevy of injuries for the Mariners this spring.

Second baseman Robinson Cano suffered tightness in his left hamstring, during Sunday’s game and was removed for precautionary reasons. An MRI revealed no serious damage and he isn’t expected to miss too much time.

Left-fielder Ben Gamel is still sidelined with a left oblique strain.

Right-hander Felix Hernandez has been out since Feb. 26 when he was hit in the right forearm by a line drive.

Both players are expected to be back for the start of the season.

Andrew Romaine, a defensive replacement at third base in Monday’s game, felt his shoulder pop out as he applied a tag and also had to leave.

“He was in some pain there,” Servais said. “We’ll have the doctors look at him and see where he’s at.”

The injuries were the main reason the Mariners brought back 44-year-old Ichiro Suzuki, signing the left-handed Japanese swinger with 3,080 Major League hits, last week to a one-year contract.

It’s that time of spring after playing weeks on hard dry ground – and with all the repetition – that veteran players sustain nagging injuries.

Thus, was the case Monday with the 37-year-old Cruz, who had a slash line of .288/.375/.549 with 39 homers, 119 RBIs and an .924 OPS last season. Any protracted period of time out would be a big loss for the Mariners, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, Ichiro’s first season.

“If you’ve been around the Mariners the last two seasons I don’t know if there’s a good time for anything,” Servais said. “Hopefully these things aren’t major. If guys are going to miss a few days, we’d rather have it happen now than during the regular season. But anytime guys come out of games it’s never a good thing.”