Third-base coach recovering from hernia surgery

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners will be without third-base coach John Stearns for four to six weeks after he underwent laparoscopic surgery Monday for a hiatal hernia.

Shortly after arriving in Arizona, Stearns suffered discomfort in his upper abdomen and thought he was having a heart attack, manager Lloyd McClendon said. The surgery was performed by Dr. Jamison Foster at Arrowhead Hospital in Glendale.

Stearns was released Tuesday afternoon and was told by team trainers to stay at home for a couple of days.

McClendon and general manager Jack Zduriencik will discuss internal options to fill the third-base coaching vacancy during Spring Training and perhaps into the regular season.

The Mariners open Cactus League play Thursday and their regular-season opener is five weeks away, March 31.

Stearns, 62, is in his first season as the team's third-base coach, after serving as the organization's Minor League catching coordinator in 2012 and the first part of 2013 before taking over managing duties for Triple-A Tacoma on May 2. He also was a professional scout with the Mariners in 2010-11.

Stearns, nicknamed "Bad Dude" during his playing days, played 11 seasons with the Phillies and Mets before he retired following the 1984 season.

Chris Gabel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.