Although his performance hasn't reflected it, it turns out Robinson Cano has been playing through pain in recent weeks.
The Mariners announced Friday that Cano has been diagnosed with a sports hernia, an injury he's likely been dealing with since suffering an abdominal strain on July 28. Cano will play through the injury for the final games of the regular season before having surgery on October 13.
The club discovered the issue after running a series of tests to get to the bottom of the pain Cano feels when he runs or makes sudden movements.
“It’s good that we found out what it is,” Cano said. “Instead of going home and hoping it was going to heal and wondering if it was going to be 100 percent. It’s good that I can get surgery and go to spring training knowing that I don’t have to worry about anything.”
Mariners’ team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Edward Khalfayan said Cano should be cleared to return to baseball activities after six weeks. Cano should be ready by the time next spring rolls around.
It's been a down year, relatively, for the 32-year-old, but Cano's play has actually trended up since the injury. After missing three games in late July, Cano has batted .329/.378/.498 heading into Friday's game. The second baseman is hitting .286/.333/.442 with 20 homers, 76 RBI and 80 runs scored overall.
Archer Feeling Fatigued
Cano isn't the only one who's been playing compromised of late.
Chris Archer admitted Friday that he's dealing with "a little fatigue" that has left him pitching at 85-90 percent in recent weeks. In his last 10 starts, Archer is 2-5 with a 5.09 ERA.
Despite the fatigue, the right-hander said he won't be among those calling it a season with only a handful of games left to play. Archer will take the mound Saturday against the Blue Jays -- the same team that torched him for nine runs in 3 2/3 innings last weekend -- to attempt to embrace what he called "a growth moment."
"It's been a long season, and I think that one of the biggest things I can learn is how to be effective when I'm not feeling 100 percent," he said.
The late stumble is an ugly footnote in what has been a terrific year for the 27-year-old. Through 33 starts, Archer is 12-13 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 249/65 K/BB ratio. He's already set the single-season Rays record for strikeouts -- in an organization that has boasted starters such as David Price, James Shields and Scott Kazmir -- and has a chance to own the K/9 record as well with a good start Saturday.
As more and more of his colleagues hang up their cleats for the year, Troy Tulowitzki found his way back onto the baseball diamond Friday.
Tulowitzki, who had been out since September 12 with a cracked left shoulder blade, was back in the Blue Jays' lineup for their game against the Rays. Tulo finished 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored, and he made it through the game at shortstop with no issue.
The 30-year-old said the contest was a good trial run for all facets of his game.
"That play where I had to reach my arm up on the ball that went off my glove, got a few groundballs early, got some swing and misses, barrelled some balls up, overall I got to test it out real well," said Tulowitzki. "Sometimes you go through a game with not much feedback, but I did pretty much everything."
The Jays offense has been just fine in Tulowitzki's absence, but they'll certainly be glad to have him back for the postseason. With Tulo back, Ryan Goins will likely slide over to serve as the primary second baseman. Tulowitzki batted seventh in Friday's game.
National League Quick Hits: Jake Arrieta on Friday put a bow on what could be his first Cy Young season, firing six shutout innings against the Brewers. With the win, Arrieta finishes the year 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 236/48 K/BB ratio ... Speaking of Shields, the right-hander won't make his final start of the season on Sunday. Shields' season ends at 13-7 with a 3.91 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 216/81 K/BB ratio over 202 1/3 innings ... Julio Teheran turned things around down the stretch and capped it off with six scoreless innings Friday against the Cardinals. Teheran owned a 1.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 32/16 K/BB ratio over his final six starts ... Starling Marte moved the Pirates one win closer to hosting the NL Wild Card Game with a walk-off, two-run homer in the 12th inning to beat the Reds. Marte has been nearly impossible to get out in recent days, raising his overall line to .286/.334/.445 with 19 homers and 81 RBI ... Wilin Rosario said he would be "fine" if the Rockies want to trade him in the offseason. "It's not been a very exciting season for me, and now the season is almost over," Rosario said. OK, then ... Both the Marlins-Phillies and Nationals-Mets matchups were postponed due to weather. Both games will be made up as part of doubleheaders on Saturday.
American League Quick Hits: Dallas Keuchel on Friday became the first pitcher in the American League with 20 wins, and he did it with little consternation. Keuchel pitched six innings, and the Astros provided him with 21 runs of support as they chase a playoff spot ... Chris Sale set the White Sox single-season record for strikeouts with Friday's start. The southpaw struck out seven in the game, giving him 274 for the season ... Carlos Correa was one of a number of offensive stars for the Astros in their drubbing of the Diamondbacks. Correa went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, a three-run triple and four runs scored. Correa has 22 home runs, 67 RBI, 52 runs scored and 13 steals to go with a .282/.348/.520 line ...David Ortiz hit his 37th home run of the season in Friday's loss, his highest home run total since 2006. The ageless slugger is batting .272/.358/.551 with 107 RBI on the year ... Mark Buehrle won his start Friday, but it's what he almost achieved that was the talk of Toronto afterwards. Buehrle is two innings shy of 200 innings on the season, a plateau that, if reached, would give him 15 consecutive seasons of at least 200 innings pitched. Only four other pitchers have accomplished such a feat. With that in mind, the playoff-bound Jays might give Buehrle a shot to reach the goal in Sunday's regular season finale ... The Yankees-Orioles tilt was rained out. The teams will make up the contest with a doubleheader on Saturday.