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2017 Seattle Mariners injury issues

At what point does it stop simply being "bad luck"

Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

Guillermo Heredia, Jarrod Dyson, David Phelps, Steve Cishek, Rob Whalen, Robinson Canó, Tony Zych, James Paxton, Félix Hernández, Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura, Nelson Cruz, Ryan Weber, Hisashi Iwakuma, Evan Marshall, Evan Scribner, Shawn O'Malley, Shae Simmons, Drew Smyly. Even Cal Ripken Jr. of the West, Kyle Seager, missed some time this year with a gruesome stomach virus. This is a not-quite-comprehensive list of all the players who spent time on the disabled list, from day-to-day to the dreaded 60-day DL. For a while it felt as though none of the players would ever be fully healthy- the starting rotation was particularly snake-bitten, with Yovani Gallardo (YOVANI GALLARDO) the only healthy starter from the original rotation. The Mariners were not the only team to see their starters struggle with health and durability:

But it wasn't just their starting pitchers who were injured. It was an unusual day to see a lineup that resembled what we had gleefully predicted at the end of spring training. It felt like a lot of bad luck but, as the bodies piled up, it became clear that there were too many injuries to simply chalk up to bad karma. There were calls for the firing of the Mariners' strength and conditioning team, and the statue many had planned to build in homage to offseason conditioning hero and Instagram inspirer Iron Glenn wouldn't have stood a chance. Those frustrations abated slightly as the season ended, and we mushed into the gloom of another year of disappointment, but then we got this news from Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais' media round-up today:

Oh and also this fun tidbit:

The top tweet caught my eye, of course, because Heredia is my favorite player. I'm furious that he must have played with frequent pain, or the threat thereof, and I'm utterly baffled by the somewhat cavalier mention from Dipoto that Heredia's shoulder had to be popped back into place four times throughout the season. Four. Times. It was confirmed at the end of September that he would have surgery for shoulder luxation, or shoulder dislocation/instability, and it seems likely based on research that he'll have Bankart repair surgery, which carries a somewhat lengthy rehab time but should have him back in time for spring training. His play time isn't the issue here though, the issue is that Heredia experienced repeated shoulder dislocations, which lead to chronic shoulder instability, and which could have been addressed earlier in the season. A single shoulder dislocation put Michael Conforto on the 10-day DL at the end of August, and most online orthopedic pages recommend immobilizing the arm and minimizing movement for 10-14 days. Each shoulder dislocation increases pain for the patient, and the likelihood of another dislocation.

There are a seemingly endless number of factors at work here, when considering this year's injury issues. It's a player problem; players are so competitive, and want to get out there and contribute to their team/their own value, that they're playing through injuries. It's a Dipoto problem; he took a few too many risks on guys who had injury histories, and he got burned in a bad way. It's a cultural problem; we've created a culture where athletes, particularly young ones or those looking to prove themselves, are encouraged to push through pain and "brush it off." It's an organizational problem; the strength and conditioning people have either pushed too hard, or not enough, and the coaches have failed to recognize that a player was injured and/or demand that they be taken out of the game.

You assume a certain degree of physical risk when you become a professional athlete, but ideally the staff of your team or organization will help you to mitigate those risks as best you can. The Mariners' list of offseason tasks is long, but they would be remiss if they didn't do anything to address their injury issues from this last season.