Mariners' Sucre breaks leg in Venezuelan League

Catcher could miss start of Spring Training

Mariners' Sucre breaks leg in Venezuelan League

SEATTLE -- Mariners pitchers and catchers are due to report to Spring Training in just over a month, and it appears the club will be without Jesus Sucre for the start of camp after the 27-year-old backstop broke a bone in his right leg during a playoff game in the Venezuelan League on Sunday.

Sucre fractured his fibula, the smaller calf bone in the lower leg, according to Venezuelan journalist Marcos Grunfeld. Sucre reached base on a two-run single in the second inning for Magallanes in their 6-5 loss to Caribes, but then was hurt while sliding into second on a fielder's choice grounder.

The Mariners acknowledged the preliminary report and said Sucre was undergoing imaging tests Monday in Venezuela to further determine the extent of the injury.

A broken fibula would sideline Sucre for at least six weeks, which means he'll miss the opening weeks of camp, which starts Feb. 19.

Sucre is a solid defender with a strong throwing arm, but has struggled offensively over the past three years, posting a .178/.206/.229 line in 79 big league games. He batted .157 with one homer and seven RBIs in 127 at-bats in 52 games last season and figured to open camp behind newly acquired veterans Chris Iannetta and Steve Clevenger, as well as 2012 first-round Draft pick Mike Zunino.

But Sucre was hitting extremely well this winter for Navegantes de Magallanes, batting .350 in 14 regular-season games and then posting a .345/.441/.414 line in 10 postseason games, going 10-for-29 with two doubles, three RBIs, four walks and just one strikeout before his injury.

In other Winter League news:

• Infielder Luis Sardinas, who was acquired by Seattle in a trade with the Brewers for outfielder Ramon Flores in November, is the only other Mariner competing in the Venezuelan postseason. The 22-year-old has a .412/.455/.588 line in 11 playoff games for La Guaira while playing second base.

Sardinas has the highest batting average of any player in the Venezuelan playoffs while going 21-for-51 with six doubles, one home run and seven RBIs after hitting .314 in 13 regular-season games. Sardinas spent most of last season with Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he hit .282 in 103 games. He's batted .231 in 79 games with the Rangers and Brewers over the past two years.

• First baseman Kyle Petty is wrapping up a strong Australian League regular season for the Adelaide Bite, hitting .301/.375/.566 in 52 games with 13 doubles, 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Petty, 24, was a 23rd-round Draft pick of the Mariners in 2013 and batted .255 with nine home runs and 46 RBIs in 96 games for High Class A Bakersfield last year.

• Kody Kerski, a 23-year-old right-hander, is 1-3 with a 1.93 ERA and has gone 11-for-12 in save opportunities as Adelaide's closer. Kerski has allowed 18 hits, six walks and 20 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings over 22 appearances. He was an eighth-round Draft pick of Seattle's in 2014 out of Sacred Heart and crafted a 1.80 ERA with eight saves in 40 outings for Class A Clinton last season.

• Seattle's third prospect in the Australian League was Jordan Cowan, a shortstop whose stint ended in early December when he injured his knee. Cowan hit .292/.336/.396 in 25 games with two homers and nine RBIs and 10 stolen bases for Adelaide. The 20-year-old was a 37th-round Draft pick out of Kentlake High in Covington, Wash., in 2013 and split time last year between Low Class A Everett, Bakersfield and Double-A Jacksonville.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.